JETBLAST: PHOENIX @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Phoenix Coyotes (27-21-10) at Winnipeg Jets (28-26-6)  7:00 p.m., MTS Centre,TV: TSNJetsRadio: TSN 1290

We’re back! After a couple long weeks away the Winnipeg Jets return from the Olympic break and make their final push before the playoffs. It starts with an opportunity tonight to pull in the team directly in front of them, The Phoenix Coyotes. Both teams sit on the outside looking in right now, ranking tenth and eleventh respectively, but only one and three points away from the Vancouver Canucks. This will be a very important game for both teams who should be fresh coming off the break and give us a great game. Lets Go!

Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes have been up and down this season but still find themselves with a chance to vault into eighth tonight with a win. /the Coyotes saw 5 of their players head to the Olympics with some decent results. Mike Smith, though not seeing the ice came home with a gold, and Lauri Korpikowski also picked up a bronze playing with Finland. Though Smith was the third in Sochi, he is clear number one fro Phoenix and the biggest key to this teams success. The Yotes do not generate a ton of offence, with their leading scorer managing just 40 points so far, so they focus on a good defensive game and will strike if you make a mistake. Smith has started all but 10 games for Phoenix this season and has put up decent numbers, not his best but he has been able to steal games for the Coyotes with a .913 save% and 2.77% GAA, not to mention he has added a goal and two helpers to his teams offensive output. Coyotes look to take two points from the city that gave them their team, it will be interesting.

Jets

Jets fans rejoice, not hours after the city calmed down from a gold medal celebration but the talked turned back to the Jets and how they were going to make the playoffs. Going into the break the Jets were one of the hottest teams in the league and will need to continue that play, if not improve it if they want to make the post season.  A big plus for Winnipeg after the Sochi break is that for the first time in a long time they have a healthy team. Kane, Halischuk, Slater, they are all back and this team is in perfect health. How the lineup breaks down should be interesting, Kane obviously goes back with Scheifele and Wheeler, as for Slater and Halischuk you would assume they plug in on the third and fourth lines but I’ll leave that to Mr. Maurice and we’ll wait and see. The building is always rocking for this match up and the Jets need that energy for this drive to the playoffs, it all starts tonight.

Keys to the Game

Shake off the Rust: The first game in a couple weeks for most of these guys. We will find out who went home and worked out and who went home to play Xbox. The team that can get back into game shape and attitude first will go a long way to win tonight.

Energy: Winnipeg is on a tough road trip and looked tired in their last game. After this however they have a couple weeks off, so put it all on the table and give everything you’ve got.

Faceoff Circle: With the return of Jim Slater, the Jets get some help in the spot that has given the most problems this season, faceoffs. Slater was often their best in past years so look for that % to jump in the Jets favour.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (18-22-4) GAA: 2.97 SV% .901
Mike Smith (20-17-9) GAA: 2.77 SV% .913

Injuries

Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out

Morris, PHO, (upper body injury) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-3-1
Coyotes: 4-5-1

Prediction

Jets take control on home ice
Jets 4 Coyotes 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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