Winnipeg Jets (23-23-5) at San Jose Sharks (32-12-6) 9:30 p.m., SAP Center TV: TSNJets, Radio: TSN 1290
The Jets will play their second game in a row in the state of Calafornia Thursday night when they visit the San Jose Sharks. Winnipeg, although still just a .500 team, has all of sudden become a scary team to play against, and at 4 straight wins are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. On the other side of the rink, the San Jose Sharks are pose a huge threat for the Jets win streak. Grabbing 7 of their last 10, and behind only Anaheim in the Pacific division the Sharks continue their reign near the top of the Western Conference. It’s a late one for the folks back in Winnipeg so grab a nap and get ready for some hockey, Lets go!
The Sharks have a lot in common with their state rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. This franchise has been built on the back of a feew veterans who have been in San Jose for large parts of their careers. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle have all been key pieces to this franchises success, and management has done an amazing job of building young talent around them. In the past 5 or 6 years the Sharks have been consistently one of the best teams in the league during the regular season, however years of post season upsets seems to make them after thoughts year after year until you see them back at the top of the Western Conference come February and March. As is normal for this team it is Thornton on top of the scoring charts, with 53 points this season. He also leads the league in assists with 47, with many coming on a dangerous Sharks powerplay. In the net the Sharks have Stanley Cup winner Antti Niemi, the 30 year old Fin who will represent his country at the upcoming Olympics has proven himself as one of the best in the world. The Sharks are an amazing team, with no real weakness to exploit, the JEts will have to bring everything they’ve got if they hop to leave with 2 points.
Tuesday night the Jets travelled to Anaheim and did something no other team has been able to accomplish all season. The 3-2 win was the first regulation loss Anaheim had suffered on home ice in the 23 games they have played their this year. This was a huge statement game for the Jets, as they not only knocked off the top team in the conference, but also got back to .500 and remained unbeaten with Paul Maurice behind the bench. Evander Kane led the Jets offensivley with the game winning, short-handed goal, as well as an assist on the Jets first goal. Kane looked slightly rusty but played his normal game, full of speed and contact. Kanes return should bring a huge boost to the Jets, especially on the offensive end. They now have 3 lines that look like they can consistently score, that plus the improved play of Jacob Trouba and the defense could make this team dangerous down the stretch.
Keep Winning: Though the playoffs are almost a non possibility, there is still a chance. If Winnipeg can keep playing the way they have been the last 3 or 4 games they can at least make the last couple months interesting.
Pavelec: Ondrej Pavelec stole the game from Anaheim Tuesday night and he will have to be the same Thursday if they want to compete with San Jose.
Quick start: The Jets gave up the first 7 shots of the game and hardly got out of their own zone Tuesday. They were lucky to still be in the game by the time they caught up. They cannot afford another slow start.
Ondrej Pavelec (15-19-4) GAA: 2.99 SV% .901
Antti Niemmi (26-10-6) GAA: 2.38 SV% .913
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Hannan SJ, (upper body) out
Couture SJ, (upper body) out
Hertl SJ, (knee) out
Burish SJ, (back) out
Torres SJ, (torn ACL) out
Sharks take Jets out to sea
Sharks 4 Jets 2
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