The Winnipeg Jets visit the Colorado Avalanche for the 4th of 5 meetings this season in what could prove to be a huge game for both teams. The Jets are in the midst of a 3 game losing streak and have nearly played themselves out of a race that they were leading just a week ago. The Avs are in a race of their own, except on the other end of the Western Conference playoff picture. A lot is on the line tonight so Lets Go!
The Colorado Avalanche may be the surprise of the league this year. With 41 wins already the Avalanche are sitting just 7 points out of the top spot in the conference. The young skill on this team has been unbelievable, and the way this team has come together has been shocking. One of the young guys that you need to watch is Nathan Mackinnon, who has pretty much locked up the Calder Trophy at this point, even breaking a Wayne Gretzky record by registering a point in 13 straight games as an 18 year old. The 13 game trend brings Mackinnons season totals to 22 goals and 29 assists, leading the NHL rookie scoring race by far. The Avalanche have leaned on young talent like Mackinnon as well as Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Ladeskog, and the rest of this young core, and they have responded for team. The only question moving forward with this team is experience. This will be many of their first playoff runs, and it all depends how the young men on this team respond to the added pressure that hockey this late in the season brings.
The Jets have entered a tail spin here and if they don’t pull up quick they are setting themselves up for another late season crash landing. With 3 straight losses the Jets, who did pull themselves into eighth for a couple day last week, now are way in the rearview mirror of the Dallas Stars. The Jets need to turn this around right now and pretty close to win out if they still fashion themselves as a playoff team. So far this season these teams have been very even, all 3 games have been decided by just one goal, and two have gone to overtime. The big question for Paul Maurice on Monday night will be who his goaltender is. Al Montoya has gotten just one start since Maurice joined the club, however he did replace Pavelec in the 5-3 beating the Senators gave them on Saturday, and he has played well all season. Whether it is Montoya or Pavelec, the Jets need their goaltender to be strong as the Avalanche will generate plenty of chances.
Counter strike: The Avs are fast and offensive, however if you can shut their rush down they do leave themselves open to quick counter strikes. If the Jets play smart they may be able to generate some odd man rushes of some good defensive plays.
Help yourself: The Jets have lost 3 straight, and both the Stars and the Coyotes, the two teams above them, have won all 3 of those games. Yeah, you need some help if you are the Jets but it is time to help yourself a little bit.
Goaltending: The Avs have so much offensive talent, whoever is in net for Winnipeg needs to be on the top of their game.
Ondrej Pavelec (20-24-5) GAA: 2.98 SV% .902 or Al Montoya (10-4-2) GAA: 2.12 SV% .927
Semyon Varlamov (31-12-5) GAA: 2.47 SV% .925
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Scheifele WPG, (MCL) out
Wright WPG, (lower body) out
Stasny COL, (back) day-to-day
Tanguay COL, (hip) out
Avs are too much, Jets continue to struggle
Avalanche 4 Jets 2
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.