Buffalo Sabres (11-24-4) at Winnipeg Jets (18-18-5) 6:00 p.m., Pepsi Centre TV: TSN, MSG-B Radio: TSN 1290
The annual Winnipeg tradition continues as the Jets will welcome the Sabres into the MTS Centre for a New Years Eve match up. In their first match up in Buffalo the Winnipeg Jets turned in one of their most disappointing performances of the season in a 4-2 loss to the Sabres. The Sabres who have been one of the worst teams in the NHL all season came out and surprised the Jets who looked lost all game. Heading to New Years eve the Sabres have now 4 of their last 6 and are suddenly streaking. The Jets on the other hand have won two straight, both in their division, which has been a struggle all season, so they are coming in on a high. Two teams coming in hot, in front of what is sure to be a crazy crowd at the MTS Centre, Lets go!
The Buffalo Sabres still sit in last place in the league but own wins over the Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes, and Washington Capitals in the last 11 days. Their star has been Ryan Miller, Miller carries the team and is the key to any success they have. Miller who looks to be the goaltender for the United States heading into the Olympics, has been the subject of many trade rumors over the last two seasons, however, he remains the Sabres best player for now. Offensivley the Sabres have nothing to brag about, they have no player with 20 points or more, as well as having no player with a positive +/- who has played more than 10 games. Despite all the negative stats that surround this team, lately they have been getting wins, and are above .500 in their last 10. The Sabres are a team that are not to be taken lightly, if you don’t play your best, you will not beat Buffalo.
Winnipeg played a great road game in Colorado Sunday night and walked away with a well deserved two points. They held the Avs to one goal which was more than flukey, and did enough on the other end to get the win. Blake Wheelers goal with just a second left in overtime combined two of the Jets hottest players in a beautiful play and a Winnipeg win. After a slight scramble at the blue line Mark Scheifele picked up the puck in the corner and fired it at Wheeler who re-directed the puck just behind Semyon Varlamov for a big two points. These two, combined with Evander Kane hace been carrying the Jets the last month, and with a win over the Sabres they will not only go over .500 for the month of December, but over .500 for the season. The current question mark for Winnipeg is in the net. After some struggles for Ondrej Pavelec Al Montoya took over in Colorado and played amazing, if not for a bad bounce off two Winnipeg defenseman, Montoya would have had his second shutout of the season. Jets coach Claude Noel has not yet named a starter but it will be an interesting decision Tuesday morning.
Play at your level: The Jets play down to their opponents so often fans have come to expect it. Play good get wins against top 8 teams, lose to teams out of the playoff picture, time to break the trend.
Strong Tendy: Pavelec or Montoya, doesn’t matter. Jets need a strong performance in the net.
Feed off the Crowd: The Hangar should be rocking on New Years eve, use it to your advantage, play with energy and feed off the noise in the building.
Al Montoya (7-2-1) GAA: 2.02 SV% .929 or Ondrej Pavelec (11-16-4) GAA: 3.03 SV% .902
Ryan Miller (10-17-1) GAA: 2.69 SV% .927
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Clitsome WPG, (illness) out
Sulzer BUF, (illness) day-to-day
Porter BUF, (lower body) out
Hodgson BUF, (Upper body) day-to-day
McCormick BUF, (Upper body) out
3 in a row? It’s a new year why not!
Jets 5 Sabres 1
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