The Jets and Wild have their third chance at each other Saturday afternoon when Minnesota visits Winnipeg for an afternoon clash at the MTS Centre. So far this season the Wild have taken both contests between the teams, each by a goal, most recently November 17th, a 2-1 Wild win after Mikko Koivu scored the winner in the last 5 minutes. This si a big game for both teams as the Jets attempt to end a little bit of a losing skid, and the Wild try to keep pace with the leaders in the Central. Jets and Wild round 3, for a little Saturday afternoon puck, here we go.
The Wild have quietly crept up in the West and become one of the top teams, just two points back of Chicago for the division lead and the top spot in not only the divsion but the conference. Of course the West being as good as it is that puts Minnesota in a tie for the 8th playoff spot. No game in the West is easy, and you cannot let your foot of the gas if you want to keep pace. The Wild have been on fire recently taking only 2 regulation losses in their last 13. The Wild have been helped by the surprising play of goaltender Josh Harding, who looks to get the start once again in Winnipeg. In 18 games Harding only has 3 regulation losses. He has also tagged on 2 shutouts and gives the Wild a shot to win every night.
Winnipeg took their third straight loss Thursday in a 6-3 loss to Chicago. The Jets stayed in it and played with Chicago for the better part of 2 periods, however finally in the third the Hawks took over and were to much. Winnipeg played relativly well but just are not yet in the same league as the Blackhawks. They are not getting much of a break when Minnesota comes and will have to bring the same kind of game. The Jets need to play a solid, smart, and safe defensive game, while at the same time generating some offense. The offense has been the problem with the Jets in their games against Minnesota up to now. Managing just 3 goals and being held to 15 shots in one of the games, Winnipeg has not been able to generate much against the Wild. To turn that around they will need strong efforts from all lines. The number one line of Little, Ladd, and Wheeler will not be able to carry the entire load of the Jets Saturday afternoon if they want to leave with a win.
Secondary scoring: It’s been 6 games since Devon Setoguchi scored, 10 since Evander Kane has found the twine, and Mark Scheifele has not scored since game 1. The Jets need production from these guys going forward or they do not have a chance.
Find Goals: The way the Jets have tried to generate offense against Minnesota this season has not worked. They need to find a way to score, get to the net, find rebounds, get some bounces, whatever it takes the Jets must do.
Defense: The Jets gave up 6 goals to Chicago and that is not good enough. The defense let down and gave up to many chances and if not for Pavelec it may have been worse. With the return of Mark Stuart the Jets D line will hopefully get a boost but everyone must play better.
Ondrej Pavelec (8-9-2) GAA: 2.86 SV% .911
Josh Harding (13-3-2) GAA: 1.48 SV% .939
Trouba WPG, (neck) out
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Bogosian WPG, (lower body injury) out
Backstrom MIN, (upper body) day-to-day
Ballard MIN, (upper body) out
Mitchell MIN, (leg) day-to-day
Jets get a win before heading on the road
Jets 3 Wild 1
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