|(38-28-10) 86 points||(35-32-8) 76 points|
7th in East, 2nd in Northeast
10th in East, 3rd in Southeast
The Senators were slumping at the wrong time and found themselves sliding down the standings and objects in the rear view mirror now appear as closely as they really are. The Buffalo Sabres are 2 points back the Washington Capitals are 2 back and the Jets 8 back.
They may have righted the ship with an 8-4 win over the hottest team in the NHL the Pittsburgh Penguins but they will have to continue that with a win on the road in one of the most hostile buildings in the league. They face a team that could leap frog them if they dive again so the argument could be made that this is one of the most important games left on the season for the Sens.
Goaltending has been questionable the last few games as neither Craig Anderson or Ben Bishop could play complete games. Anderson is coming off a finger injury, while Bishop came over via trade and filled in brilliantly. It should be their strong point and if they can’t get it figured out in time for tonight’s affair it could get ugly at the Hangar on Hargrave.
The Jets remain in the hunt for a playoff support but that hunt is now on life support. Anything but a 6-1 record in their final 7 games will spell doom and even that may not be good enough to get them past Buffalo and Washington into 8th. The return to the MTS Centre will be a welcome thought for a team that has 23 wins there as opposed to 12 away from it.
Ottawa sits in reach of the Jets and have been slumping but they are coming off an 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. They sit 8 points up on Winnipeg and have played one more game then the Jets. So not only would a win for Winnipeg be essential to their playoff aspirations, Ottawa may be a team the Jets can catch easier than the red-hot Sabres.
Until the Jets are mathematically eliminated it looks like we’ll continue to see a healthy dose of Ondrej Pavelec from here on out and despite the loss to Nashville he has continued to play well all year-long. The fourth line has been providing the offense the past two games and while it’s great to get production from them the top two lines need to start scoring again.
Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane have to produce regularly and with 28 goals Kane is just 2 away from reaching 30 for the first time in his career and would be the first player to do so in a new Jets jersey. With two games at home before heading on the road for three he’ll need a strong game if he wants to score it at home.
Keys to Victory
Home Cooking. The Jets need to do what they’ve done all year at home, play above their heads and win games.
Score first. The Jets continue to dominate at home after scoring first and every game the first goal will be huge.
Shoot. The Sens goaltending has been rocky the last two games since the return of Craig Anderson. Get shots and traffic and make sure they don’t find their game now.
Draw penalties. Winnipeg’s big statistical advantage is on the power play so they need to exploit it for all it’s worth and convert on their chances. The road has struggled but at home they are an amazing 25%
Nik Antropov (Lower Body) – Questionable
Eric Fehr (Upper Body) – Questionable
Chris Thorburn (Upper Body) – Out Indefinitely
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (28-26-7, 2.93, .907) [Unconfirmed]
Senators – Craig Anderson (30-20-6, 2.86, .912) [Unconfirmed]
The home is where the heart is and that heart will lead the Jets to a win against a very beatable Senators team.
Winnipeg Jets 4 – Ottawa Senators 2