Colorado Avalanche (20-9-0) at Winnipeg Jets (14-14-4) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre TV: TSN Jets, Altitude Radio: TSN 1290,
The Jets and Avalanche meet for the second time this season Thursday night when Colorado comes to the MTS Centre to battle the Winnipeg Jets. In their first meeting near the end of October, the Avalanche handed Al Montoya his first lost of the season by scoring two third period goals and coming from behind to beat the Jets. Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little each had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg while Paul Stasny added two points including the winning goal for Colorado. Since that game, which at the time had the Avs at the top of the league, they have leveled out a bit falling to the middle of the conference. Winnipeg in the meantime has been much the same, inconsistent and hovering around .500. Jets and Avs, Lets go!
Colorado started hot this season and as many expected seem to have come back down to earth. However they are still sitting in a playoff spot and surprising the experts. Of course recently the Avs have gotten more press for their top goalies legal problems, their play has not been noticably effected. The goalie, Semyon Varlamov, has ignored his off ice issues and continued to play well for the Avalanche and has shown himself more than capable to steal games. On the front end the Avs are loaded with skill and former top NHL draft picks. Duchene, Stasny, Landeskog, and Mackinnon among others are have the skills to score and if you give them chances the puck will be in your net. Colorado likes to play a fast end to end game, trade chances and score a lot of goals. They are an exciting team to watch, but if the Jets let them play like that this could get out of hand fast.
Another division game another dissapointing loss for the Jets. Winnipeg played a solid game and you can make the argument they played well enough to win. The hockey gods were not on their side however as. for the second time in a row against St. Louis, an ill advised late penalty turned into an unfortunate bounce and the puck was in the Jets net, and gave them a 2-1 loss. Winnipeg can take positives out of staying with one of the best teams in the league, and having a chance to win in the end. The Jets can not really afford moral victories right now if they want to make the playoffs though, the Jets need to start getting W’s and start fast. A player who seems to be getting leaned on much more recently is Chris Thorburn who has been moved to the second line in the absence of Evander Kane. Thorburn has seen his minutes rise from around 4 minutes per game to up over 13. It is an interesting decision to go to Chris Thorburn over someone like Matt Halischuk who may be a little more offensively skilled, or even a guy like Eric O’Dell who has been putting up big numbers in the AHL. Thorburn needs to make the most of this opportunity and get on the scoresheet.
No bad goals: The Jets cannot afford giving up goals like Ondrej Pavelec gave to Alex Steen Tuesday night. Scoring can still be a problem for this team and when a goal like that goes in it brings the whole team down.
Win in the division: This season the Jets are 3-10-2 in their division and 11-4-2 outside of it. Yes, the Central is very good, however no team that has playoff aspirations can afford being that bad in their own division.
Slow the game down: The Avs are going to try and wheel up and down the ice, run and gun if you will, but the JEts cannot get sucked into a track meet with this team. Use your body and slow the game down.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-12-3) GAA: 2.73 SV% .913
Semyon Varlamov (13-8-0) GAA: 2.46 SV% .922
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Bogosian WPG, (lower body injury) out
Kane WPG, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Hejda COL, (knee) day-to-day
Wilson COL, (back) out
Tanguay COL, (knee) out
Tough back and fourth game but Jets lose in OT
Avs 4 Jets 3
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