JETBLAST: COLUMBUS @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Columbus Blue Jackets (20-20-4) 6:00 p.m. at Winnipeg Jets (19-22-5), MTS Centre TV: TSNJetsRadio: TSN 1290

After a few days off the Winnipeg Jets welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into the MTS Centre for a Hockey Night in Canada Match up. It is the teams second match up this season, the first ending in a 3-2 Jet win in Columbus. In Winnipeg everything has changed it what feels like weeks since their last game. The Jackets on the other hand played last night when they earned a 3-0 shutout win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Ohio. Hockey Night in Canada always bring a little more energy to the building so get ready, Lets go!

Blue Jackets

The Jackets are coming into Winnipeg in a tough situation. Playing at home last night, in a tough game between two opponents very close in the standings. The Blue Jackets prevailed however and traveled to Winnipeg on a high over night. Columbus leans on their Vezna winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, when he is hot the team has a shot, if he is off however, the Jackets will struggle to get wins. After playing last night however, it would appear that Bobrovsky will get the night off in favor off Curtis McElhinney. McEhlhinney is 7-8-1 this season and has put up decent numbers. Any time Bobrovsky is not in the Columbus net though it has to be seen as a disadvantage. Columbus comes in to Winnipeg to try and prey on the struggling Jets and earn their 3rd straight win and 4th in their last 5. The Blue Jackets are a team that many still take for granted as one of the bottom feeders in the NHL but if the Jets play the way they have been, Columbus has more than enough skill to continue their skid.

Jets

Feeling around the Jets continues to get worse even when it feels like it can go no lower. This Jets team that fans will see on Saturday night appears to be a very different one then Winnipegers have seen. Lineup changes are all over the place and besides the fourth line everything appears to be different. Blake Wheeler has been removed from the first line to try and bring some life to Ollie Joikenen and Devon Setoguchi. Taking Wheelers spot on the top unit will be Dustin Byfuglien who if you listen to the rumors may be on his last chance to make a positive difference in Winnipeg. Even the hottest line in Winnipeg sees some change as Evander Kane looks to be out of the lineup due to injury, Eric O’dell will take his spot and try and show some of the offensive skill that got him called up with Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik. If nothing else Saturday night is going to be interesting Jets fans.

Keys to the Game

Chemistry: With all the changes around the Jets will be hard pressed to find chemistry. They have no time for a feeling out process however, the Jets must hit the ground running.

Big on D: The Jets face the smallest amount of changes in their back end, minus Dustin Byfuglien and plus either, Keaton Ellerby or Zach Redmond. The defense has to be strong and cannot afford mistakes in this game.

Stay hot: Though they may not have the same linemates, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele need to stay hot for Winnipeg and keep producing.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (11-18-4) GAA: 3.06 SV% .901
Curtis McEhlinney (7-8-1) GAA: 2.81 SV% .909

Injuries

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

Kane WPG, (hand) out
Comeau CBJ, (knee) out
Skille CBJ, (upper body) out
Gaborik CBJ, (Collarbone) out
Boll CBJ, (ankle) out
Gabriel CBJ, (torn achilles) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 4-6-0
Blue Jackets: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets overcome lineup changes
Jets 4 Blue Jackets 1

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