The Winnipeg Jets will play their newest most important game of the year Saturday evening when they host the Carolina Hurricanes live on CBC for Hockey Night in Canada. The Jets seem to be in a win or go home game every night now while the Hurricanes are implanted firmly in a spoiler roll for another year. These two teams met just before the Olympic break with the Jets taking a 2-1 decision in Carolina when Chris Thorburn scored the go ahead goal with just a minute and 3 seconds left. The Canes try to even the score live on Hockey Night in Canada, Lets Go!
The Carolina Hurricanes have will once again finish an NHL season with the feeling of under achieving. Despite a pretty talented group the Canes have not been able to produce enough to earn a playoff spot. With another season that will be cast as a failure in Carolina, the talk is that a full rebuild may be coming. The most interesting rumor is the one surrounding long time captain Eric Staal who some say may be on his way out come the summer. Eric, the oldest of the three Staal brothers, has been the undisputed leader of this team for many years now, and to move him would be a real shake up to the organization. Back to this year however, the Hurricanes are coming off a 3-2 loss last night in Chicago. The crew is sure to be tired and after dropping 3 of their last 4, they are definitely vulnerable.
The Jets got back in the win column and kept themselves alive in the playoff race with a thrilling 5-4 overtime win against Colorado. Saturday is a huge game for the Jets as it will be their last at home before a very challenging 5 game road swing in the West. Winnipeg continues to sit 6 points back of the Phoenix Coyotes for the eighth and final playoff spot, they are also currently behind the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars however so the work that needs to be done is still a huge uphill climb. A bright spot for Winnipeg however is Blake Wheeler, who finally got back in the goal column with his beautiful game winner Wednesday. Though Wheeler was still putting up points over his slump the Jets need him scoring himself, and hopefully this is the start of a big run. The chances are slim of this team getting into the playoffs, however if Wheeler, as well as Evander Kane can start filling the net like they are able to, they still have a shot.
Use Home Ice: The Jets head on a 5 game road trip after Saturdays game so it is important to use the home crowd now, it is sure to rocking so feed off the energy and get it done.
Ripe for the Picking: Though the Canes do not look much worse than the Jets in the standings, they have lost 3 of 4, and are coming in on the second half of a back to back. It is time to get that W.
Al Montoya: Since starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec went down the load has fallen to Al Montoya. He hasn’t been perfect but he has been making the most of his opportunity. The Jets expect Pavvy to join them on the road trip so Montoya does not have much time left to prove what he can do.
Al Montoya (12-6-3) GAA: 2.26 SV% .921
Cam Ward (8-11-5) GAA: 3.14 SV% .893
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
Byfuglien WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Bogosian WPG, (unknown) day-to-day
Murphy CAR, (upper body) day-to-day
Pitkanen CAR, (broken left heel) out
Jets live to die another day
Jets 5 Hurricanes 2
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