These two teams come together in Winnipeg for the first of many meetings for the new division foes. Once again the Jets have the chance to take advantage of a team who played a late game, which went into extra time last night. St. Louis got by Chicago in Chicago last night but needed a shootout to do so. The game which ended 3-2, did not finish until nearly 11 PM which means the Blues were not even off their flight until after 1 AM most likely. This has been a situation which the Jets have been inconsistent in so far this season. At times they have managed to take advantage, but at times they have come out flatter than the team that should be tired. The start of new rivalries is always exciting so strap in for Jets and Blues.
The Blues have been improving every season and have blossomed into one of the premier franchises in the Western Conference and the NHL as a whole. Building from within the Blues have become a force with very little weakness. Up front they are led by players like T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Patrick Berglund. This team is quietly good, no one player really jumps and is a star but the way they all play and contribute as a team is something the Jets need to model after. On the back end the Blues are led by yound super star Alex Pietrangelo who is about as sturdy they come. He’s backed up by proven vetrans like Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester. The goaltenders follow the lead of the rest of the team, strong and deep. Jaroslav Halak has been great for this team, playing in every game so far. Brian Elliot, the normally very strong and reliable back up, has played in one game but was quickly removed after a sub par performance. Look for Elliot to start on the back end of the back to back.
Another year for the Jets is passing by, but the storylines from the last two are continuing. Inconsistent play, slow starts and line juggling to find offence, this team has just as many questions as they do answers. Among the newest questions is Evander Kane, Kane who was hurt in practice after getting tangled up with Anthony Peluso is now day-to-day. Losing Kane would be a huge blow as he has been their best player, with or without Kane someone needs to step up. One player who may be auditioning for the job is Mark Schiefele, who has been drawing a lot of praise for being one of the lone bright spots for the Jets in their loss to Montreal. Winnipeg needs more performance like this and more full team performances in general, the Jets cannot afford only half of the team showing up, they cannot win that way. This is a team that when they show up and come ready to play, can beat any team in the league, especially at home.
Wheeler: Bluntly, Blake Wheeler has not been good to start the season. The man who has led the Jets in scoring the past two years got a big contract this summer and has yet to live up to those numbers. Though Wheeler is no stranger to these slow starts (16 games before his first goal two seasons ago) the Jets cannot afford him slumping.
Feed off the crowd: The Blues are one of the best teams in the West and that normally brings out the best in Jets fans. You can bet the crowd will be loud, especially on a Friday night, and Winnipeg needs to funnel that emotion and use it to their advantage,
Get to the net: The Jets have generated some good shot counts recently, but high shot numbers are not always quality chances. The Jets need to get the puck to the net, use speed and crash the goal, look for rebounds and create chaos in front of whoever is in the Blues cage.
Ondrej Pavelec (2-4-0) GAA: 3.04 SV% .907
Brian Elliot (0-0-0) GAA: 6.00 SV% .846
Kane WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Thorburn WPG, (undisclosed) out
Jets play up to their opponent, home crowd powers them to big win
Jets 3 Blues 2