The fifth and final game between two central division rivals takes place Wednesday evening in Winnipeg when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Winnipeg Jets. This has been a pretty good rivalry so far this year as all 4 games have been decided by one goal, 3 of them ending in overtime. The last meeting came just over a week ago when Matt Duchene got the winner late in the overtime period two get the Avs the two points. They’ve had 4 good ones already and there is no reason not to expect a fifth, Jets, Avs, Lets Go!
It has been talked about many times this season but this young Avalanche team continues to impress. They are right up there in the standings, a date with Chicago in the 2/3 Central division playoff looming, with home ice still to play for. The Avs are coming off a 6-3 loss in Montreal Tuesday, and will be looking to respond in the second half of this back to back. The loss proved costly last night as the Chicago Blackhawks earned a single point in their game with Philadelphia and are now tied with 93 points with the Colorasdo Avalanche for the second seed in the Central. Colorado plays a free wheeling, high scoring, fast kind of game, it is rare to see a 2-1 score on a boxscore that has the Colorado Avalanche written on it. With so much young talent as well this team is just on the way up, though they may not be a cup contender this season, it all about experience as they soon will be back in that cup picture, you can be sure of that.
After finally grabbing a big win over the Stars, the Jets continued their March slump dropping a 3-1 game to the St. Louis Blues. Winnipeg has lost 7 of their last 8 and are now 6 back of the Phoenix Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the West. Unless they can manage to win out it looks like it will be a third straight year in Winnipeg without a playoff game. There is still a lot to play for with these Winnipeg Jets. Another stretch run is just more experience that their young players, who when playoffs eventually do come to this city, will be tasked with moving past a round one exit. There are also many players like Olli Joikenen, Devin Setoguchi, and others who are now playing for contract, whether here or elsewhere, these guys have contracts goming up and are playing for dollars and jobs. Another memeber of this teams that remains un-signed is head coach Paul Maurice. Maurice who came into this city and started so well getting this team back into the playoff picture, is now coming back to earth as this .500 team regresses back to the mean. The players are still fighting for him however and if they can at least bring this team close, MAurice will end up with a pretty good pay day.
Carry Over: Mondays game in St. Louis ended with tempers flaring and emotions at a season high. Bring that into this game and use it the right way.
3rd string: Reto Berra, the Avs third string goaltender will get the start for the Colorado Avalanche. Nothing against Reto Berra, who has played pretty well this season but playing a third string goalie, on a back to back, at home, needs to be W for Winnipeg.
Goals, goals, goals: This game is not going to be won with just a goal or two. Winnipeg needs to be able to get at least 3 or 4, if not more if they want to get the W Wednesday night.
Al Montoya (11-6-3) GAA: 2.18 SV% .914
Reto Berra (9-17-2) GAA: 2.95 SV% .897
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Scheifele WPG, (MCL) out
Wright WPG, (lower body) out
Pavelec WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Thorburn WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Mitchell COL, (back) day-to-day
Parenteau COL, (knee) day-to-day
Tanguay COL, (hip) out
Jets and Avs play another close one, Jets do enough to pick up 2 points
Jets 4 Avalanche 3
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