For the second time this month, and final time this year the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers will meet. The last meeting was a 5-2 dominant win for the Panthers that demoralized many Jets fans and until a couple nights ago may have been the most dissapointing loss of the season. On December 5th the Jets opened the scoring and all looked well for Winnipeg but the Panthers got the next 4 and the game was all but over. The Jets outshot and out hit the Panthers, however Tim Thomas outplayed Ondrej Pavelec and the Panthers converted on their chances. An old South East division rivalry renewed once again Friday night in Winnipeg, Lets go!
The Panthers are on their hottest run of the season right now. Florida has won 5 straight coming into Friday and 7 of their last 8 with their only loss coming to the Chicago Blackhawks. Most of that run has come without the Panthers number 1 goaltender Tim Thomas as well, Florida has been incredibly impressive the past month or so. The Panthers are led offensively by young Scottie Upshall who has been hot lately. Upshall brings a good combination of size, speed and skill, he has the opportunity to become a real game breaker in this league. The back end of the Panthers has been taken over by the resurging Scott Clemmensen. Clemmensen is getting a second chance since Tim Thomas has gone down and he has responded exactly as the Panthers have hoped. One of the hottest teams in the league visit the Winnipeg to try and take down the Jets.
There was nothing positive to take out of the Jets game with the Sabres team wise. At times in that game they were dominated by the worst team in the league and apart from a couple shifts they failed to generate chances. It is better to just pretend that game never happened and try and look at the positives this team has had recently. Their are two big positives that have emerged in the last week or two and they are Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. Wheeler who started slow and got a ton of critisism has all of a sudden began playing as Jets have expect and he is scoring goals and creating chances like almost no one else. Scheifele is behind only Wheeler in Jets scoring in the last 10 games, he has begun to play with confidence control the puck and carry the play. He has also shown off a wicked shot and some great accuracy. If the Jets cann add a few more players to this list and really get going on all cylinders they may be able to get this thing back on track.
Play with energy: The Panthers are coming in on a big win streak, and beat Winnipeg 5-2 in the last match up. If the Jets don’t come out with everything they have they will not be able to win this game.
Win the match up between the pipes: Pavelec has been shaky recently, but he has not received much help. It appears Zach Bogosian will play Friday which is a big boost for Winnipeg and they are playing against a back up. They must win that match up.
Get chances: Just puttting pucks on the net is not always enough, too many times this year the Jets have won the shot clock without really managing any good chances. Get to the net, deflect pucks and create space.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-14-4) GAA: 2.90 SV% .908
Scott Clemmensen (4-2-1) GAA: 2.60 SV% .902
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Bogosian WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Peluso WPG, (suspension) serving game 2/3
Winchester FLA, (upper body) out
Thomas FLA, (lower body) out
Jovanoski FLA (hip) out
Jets end the streak
Jets 4 Panthers 3
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