JETBLAST: PHOENIX @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Phoenix Coyotes (21-14-9) at Winnipeg Jets (19-23-5) 12:00 p.m., MTS Centre TV: TSNJets Radio: TSN 1290

It has been another whirlwind few days in Winnipeg and coming off some a big change behind the bench the two franchises that have called Winnipeg home will clash at the MTS Centre. The Phoenix Coyotes who of course left Winnipeg for Phoenix at the end of the 95/96 season. Since the Jets returned to Winnipeg this has been one of the fans favorite rivalries, and with the recent changes to the Jets it is bound to be an interesting match up. Lets Go!

Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes are having one of their best seasons since the franchise moved to Arizona. But 7 games over .500 is not good enough for a playoff spot in the West right now. The Yotes sit 4 points out of the final spot, with 4 games in hand on 8th place Minnesota. They have been slumping recently however, with only 3 wins in their last 10 and two losses in a row the Coyotes are watching their opportunities slip away and need to get back on track. Key in that endeavour will be Canadian Olympian Mike Smith. Smith who has struggled recently and seen his numbers slip, is still one of the top goalies in the league and can steal a game with a strong effort.

Jets

After another disappointing loss, this time to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Winnipeg Jets brass could no longer take it and Head Coach Claude Noel was relieved of his duties. With him, Assistant Coach Perry Pearn was also shown the door. The new guy in town is former Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. Maurice is a career .500 coach but come with experience and playoff success, leading the Canes to the finals in 2001/02. It is unclear what this means for all the line up changes the Jets had Saturday night, as it is sure Maurice will look to make his mark on the team. A new mark is what the Jets need though as they have been completely overwhelmed during this 5 game losing streak, they are made to look like a junior team, chasing the puck around the defensive zone and failing to generate any scoring chances. Things need to change and change fast if the Jets want to salvage the season.

Keys to the Game

Practice what you preach: When the Jets players were questioned about the firing of Claude Noel they all said the right thing. Good coach, not his fault, poor play is on them. If thats true they need to pick it up and play their game.

Smart defense: Teams are passing around the Jets, giving opponents wide open nets and no chance for the goaltenders. All 5 players on the ice need to commit to defense and play smart.

Break the streak: To many losses in a row, time to end it, simple enough to say.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (11-19-4) GAA: 3.14 SV% .898
Mike Smith (15-11-8) GAA: 2.89 SV% .910

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Clitsome WPG, (illness) out
Kane WPG, (hand) out
Michalek PHX, (lower body) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 3-7-0
Coyotes: 3-4-3

Prediction

Good Jets show up or bad? Hardest thing to predict, Coyotes take it in extra time
Coyotes 3 Jets 2

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!

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