JETBLAST: MINNESOTA @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Minnesota Wild (20-14-5) at Winnipeg Jets (16-18-5) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre TV: TSN Jets, FS-N Radio: TSN 1290

The closest geographical rival of the Winnipeg Jets visits the MTS Centre Friday night when the Minnesota Wild come to town for the second time this season, and the fourth meeting between the two teams this year. Minnesota has taken all 3 games so far, with the Jets picking up only one point of a possible six. Each game has been within one goal, including the last in Winnipeg which ended in a 3-2 shootout win for the Wild. Winnipeg has been awful this season against their own division and if there is any hope for playoff hockey, the 9th place Wild would be a good start, Lets go!

Wild

Although the Minnesota Wild currently are 6 games above .500, they are still sitting on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. In 9th place heaaded into the second half of the season the Wild would probably be considered a dissapointment, but with the competition in the Western Conference this season it may be an unfair assumption. Headed in to Fridays match up the Wild appear to have two roster changes that will greatly effect the team. Zach Parise who injured his foot just before the Christmas break looks to still be nursing that injury and it appears he will be out of the lineup. The Wild do get a boost though as Josh Harding is expected to be activitated from the IR and he looks to be back in the Wild net. Harding has been unbelievable this year in his comeback season. Harding currently ranks 1st in the league in G.A.A., 2nd in save percentage, and 5th in wins, he has been an absolute pleasant surprise for the team from Minnesota. This will be the final game of a 4 game streak for the Wild which has been ugly so far as the team is winless and struggling for goals. The D play has been great but if the other side of the puck can not pick up the slack the Wild may be in trouble going forward.

Jets

6 times already this season the Jets have gone 3 games without a win. They will try to avoid that number rising to 7 on Friday night in Winnipeg against the Minnesota Wild. The Jets look to forget what happened in Edmonton just before the break, a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers which had many Jets fans heading into Christmas vacation in embarassment. It is a new day however and the Jets will look to regroup and get back to some of the high calibre they have played this season. The JEts have dropped all three games in this series against a team that may be their biggest rivals going forward, but they have Fridays game, and one more home game to try and buck the trend and at least make the season series a little close. Over the last couple weeks the JEts have been leaning on the rookie shoulders of Mark Scheifele, he has been on fire and appears to have finally grown into the NHL player that all of Winnipeg was hoping he could be. On the other hand, all of a sudden cold are two thirds of the top line, Andrew Ladd and Brian Little. The two men who had carried the Jets at the start of the season have seen the quality of their play drop and this has made wins hard to come by for the Jets. Winnipeg needs all four lines to be going if they want to be a winning team, they are running out of time to become that though.

Keys to the Game

Play Nasty: The Jets showed a little fire at the end of their game with the Oilers, though they don’t want to spend the game in the penalty box, it will do the Jets well to play with a little attitude and a little nasty.

No freebies: Minnesota has had a lot of trouble scoring recently, make them work for their chances and don’t give them free looks at the net.

Scoring: The Jets need all lines firing to be a good team, from 1-4 they all need to be better.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (11-16-4) GAA: 2.94 SV% .905
Josh Harding (18-5-3) GAA: 1.51 SV% .939

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Clitsome WPG, (illness) out

Parise MIN, (foot) out
Stoner MIN, (lower body) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 3-3-1
Wild: 4-6-0

Prediction

Depends which Jets team shows up, but I think it is time for the good one
Jets 3 Wild 1

Become an MVP

Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.

Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!