JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ SAN JOSE

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JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (32-32-9) at San Jose Sharks (47-18-9) at 9:30 p.m., SAP Centre,TV: TSNJets Radio:TSN 1290

The Winnipeg Jets head into San Jose for the second time this season and the third meeting overall between the two teams. The Sharks took the last meeting in California 1-0, while Winnipeg took the first meeting of the season 5-4 in overtime back in Winnipeg. Two teams headed in different directions, The Jets are playing for draft picks at this point while the San Jose Sharks continue to battle for top spot in not only their division but also the Conference. The two games that have been played between these teams have been great so strap in and get ready for a Western Conference battle, Lets Go!

Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have already clinched another playoff birth, their tenth straight, but they are still in a dog fight at the top of the West. Currently two points back of St. Louis and 3 points back of the President Trophy, the Sharks are still looking at that top spot and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. On the other hand they are still trying to fight off the Anaheim Ducks who are just two points behind them in the Pacific division. That is a very important battle as the loser will be forced to play the pesky Los Angeles Kings, a team no one wants to see that early in the playoffs. The difference between these two teams is scoring. The Sharks own three players who have 60+ points each, two with 70, while the Jets leading scoring sits with 59. Joe Thornton has somehow eluded age and continues to live near the top of league scoring year after year. At 71 points this season he is once again the MVP of this team and without him, they probably would not be where they are in the standings.

Jets

Another loss for the Jets and they now find themselves in 12th place in the West, just the Albertan teams behind them, and 9 points away from a playoff spot. They also saw their record return to just .500 for the first time in months, it will be another sad ending to the year in Winnipeg. There are bright spots this season but it will take a little time away, and some extra reflection to see it all. That will be for after the season however, now the Jets are playing for pride. Another abysmal March has seen them play their way out of contention and left the team looking for answers. The Jets did get some good news on the injury front however as Ondrej Pavelec is back skating with the team, though his return isn’t expected until Saturday. The other big news is that Blake Wheeler somehow avoided injury after being hit into an open bench door. It was one of the scariest things Jets fans have seen since the Jacob Trouba injury however Wheeler left the incident unscathed. Wheeler leads the team in points, a career high 59, and has been great with just about anybody the Jets have put him with. He is definitely a player still worth watching on this team as the season comes to a close.

Keys to the Game

Play up to the Sharks: One of the best teams in the league, the Sharks on paper should wipe the floor with Winnipeg. Thus far this season however, the Jets have played well and had two one goal games with the Sharks. Play like that again and who knows how this game will finish.

PK: A huge bright spot for the Jets, their road penalty kill has been among the best in the league all year. They will need it again Thursday night as the Sharks powerplay is deadly and could be a game changer.

Don’t be chum in the water: In reality the Jets have nothing to play for, the playoff hopes are pretty much dead, and a high draft pick almost certain. However JEts fans do not want to see a feeding frenzy on their team, go out there play with pride and play tough and hard.

Starting Goalies

Al Montoya (12-8-3) GAA: 2.29 SV% .921
Antti Niemi (36-14-7) GAA: 2.32 SV% .914

Injuries

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
Bogosian WPG, (unknown) day-to-day

Burish SJ, (hand) day-to-day
Torres SJ, (knee) out
Hertl SJ, (knee) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 2-6-2
Sharks: 7-1-2

Prediction

Sharks to skilled for Jets
Sharks 3 Jets 1

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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!