JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ CAROLINA

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JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (27-25-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-20-9) 6:00 p.m., PNC Arena, FS-CR TV: TSNJets Radio: TSN 1290

After a small setback at home against Nashville, the Jets have bounced back gaining two more wins against playoff teams beating the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens. They now head to Carolina for their third to last game before the Olympic break. These two teams are very familiar with each other, both playing in the South East division the last two seasons. The teams have had mixed results against each other, but at least at this point the Jets should be the favorite. Both teams will be looking to extend win streaks Tuesday night so it is sure to be a great game, Lets Go!

Hurricanes

The Canes are on the same kind of streak that fans are seeing in Winnipeg right now. After looking like they were playing themselves right out of the playoff picture earlier in the season, Carolina has picked it up recently, winning 5 of their last 6 and sitting just a point out of a playoff spot, with a game in hand. Interestingly, the Canes have done all this without star goaltender Cam Ward, who had been injured. However he has just completed a conditioning stint and is set to make his return to the Canes goal. This leaves an interesting question for Carolinas coaching staff. Anton Khudobin who filled the net in Cam Wards place has been just incredible, and was just named the NHL first star of the week. Khudobin managed 10 wins, a Hurricanes record, as well as a .927 save percentage, it has to be a hard decision for the team. Either way however this is the Canes strength, Ward has a Stanley Cup and MVP and has been one of the leagues premier goalies for years while Khudobin is the young upstart ready to take the throne in Carolina.

Jets

Back on track for the Jets, after a setback against Nashville the Jets rebounded and have now notched two straight victories against two playoff calibre opponents. Tuesday night is sure to be a special night for Coach Paul Maurice who was the bench boss in Carolina for almost 7 years, he will try to continue his success with his new team this time. Although neither the Canucks or Canadiens game was very pretty for Winnipeg, they are finally showing the ability to win those kinds of games. They don’t always have to be perfect, but if they hope to be a playoff team this year, and in the future, they need to be able to win those games. A standout during the game in Montreal, and a guy who has brought his game to another level since the coaching change is Mark Stuart. Stuart who drew a couple penalties Sunday, does nothing flashy on the ice, he is not dangling, or unleashing 100mph slap shots, but he is so important to the Jets success. The hard nosed veteran is the first guy in the corner, always playing the body, willing to take a hit to make a play, and blocks shots like he’s wearing body armour. This guy is one of the biggest leaders on the team, not necessarily by what he says, but what he does, and he is so important to the teams success.

Keys to the Game

Face off dot: An area the Jets often struggle in will be a big battle Tuesday night. Carolina has two Staal brothers in the face off circle, both of whom can be beasts.

Back end production: The Jets are at their best when their skilled defenseman are jumping into the play and getting involved offensively. This will be important today as they will need to create offence.

Goals against: In the ten games since Paul Maurice has taken over the Jets have only allowed 21 goals. They would still like to reduce that number but it is a far improvement to what it was. Keep bringing it down.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (17-21-4) GAA: 2.99 SV% .900
Anton Khudobin (12-4-0) GAA: 2.16 SV% .927

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Postma WPG, (conditioning stint) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Kane WPG, (infection) out

Pitkanen CAR, (broken heel) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 8-2-0
Hurricanes: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets can’t manage enough offense but steal a point
Hurricanes 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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