JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ WASHINGTON

og-WINWAS

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (28-25-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-23-9) 6:00 p.m., PNC Arena TV: TSNJets Radio: TSN 1290

Winnipeg has won their third straight after scoring a late goal in Carolina and capturing a 2-1 win. They now head to Washington for their second 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 everyone remembers last seasons match up. The teams were going opposite ways in the standings, Winnipeg was in a playoff spot, playing well while the Caps were a disappointment, then a two game series at the MTS Centre that completely changed both teams futures. The Caps dominated two games ad went on to go on a big streak and win the division, the Jets went the other way and played their way right out of the playoffs .Thursday night is sure to be a great game, Lets Go!

Capitals

The Caps once again find themselves out of a playoff spot in the middle of the season. Though they have probably the greatest pure scorer this game has seen in a long time, the Caps have not been able to get W’s. Last season the back end was buoyed by some MVP calibre goaltending by Brayden Holtby, but they cannot find that level of play yet this season. So it has come down to Alex Ovechkin and his teammates to try and outscore everyone and making for some big nights on the scoreboard. The first time these teams met this season back in October it was a track meet that the Caps won 5-4 in a shootout. Ovechkin got 2 that night, and it has been the trend for him. The Russian leads the league with 39 goals this season and changes every game he is a part of. If you can play solid D on this team however, they give up goals and you’ll have a great opportunity to get a win.

Jets

Three straight for the Jets have them unbelievably just 2 points out of a playoff spot. Though they are in a battle with a group of teams, a couple of which have games in hand, it is an great show of the turn around this team has had. Before the coaching change the playoffs had already been pretty much written off, but nine wins in their last 11 have changed the conversation, and if the Jets can win their next two and get a bunch of help it is possible they could find themselves in a playoff spot heading to the Olympic break. A big part in this streak has been improved goaltending, both Al Montoya and Ondrej Pavelec have raised their play to another level recently and have gotten the Jets wins they probably don’t deserve. Pavelec has seen his numbers improve big time since Maurice joined the team but Thursday will be a big test for him with the Caps high powered offense. The Jets look to make it 4 straight tonight and will need to be good for 60 minutes to do it.

Keys to the Game

Face off dot: Jets are last in the league in this category and need to be better tonight, especially against a puck possession team like the Capitals, the draws will be extra important.

The Great 8: Ovechkin is a key in every game he plays in. Shut down number 8 and you go a very far way to shutting down the Washington Capitals offence.

No track meet: The Jets cannot get into a high scoring back and fourth game with the Caps or they will not win. The Caps are too good on offence and the Jets need to be smart and slow the game down.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (18-21-4) GAA: 2.95 SV% .902
Michael Neuvirth (4-6-2) GAA: 2.82 SV% .914

Injuries

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

Volpatti  WAS, (upper body) day-to-day
Green WAS, (concussion) day-to-day
Grabovski WAS, (ankle) day-to-day
Hillen WAS, (lower body) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 8-2-0
Capitals: 3-6-1

Prediction

Strong play continues for Winnipeg
Jets 4 Capitals 3

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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!