JETBLAST: PITTSBURGH @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Pittsburgh Penguins (33-33-9) at Winnipeg Jets (48-18-8) at 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre,TV: TSNJetsRadio:TSN 1290

Winnipeg is back from a 5 game Western Conference road trip in which they went 2-2-1, they saw some success as well as some pretty ugly failure. Their return home gets no easier as one of the best teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the MTS Centre for one last meeting this season. The Pens won the only other visit back on January 5th by a 6-5 score. Neither teams has been all that hot recently, both under .500 in their last 10. The difference, the Pens are headed to the playoffs with home ice advantage, while one more loss will officially kill the Jets playoff chances, so Lets Go!

Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are once again going to finish the season at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They have all but clinched the Metropolitan with an 11 point lead with just a week left in the season. Of course you can not talk about the Pens without bringing up Sidney Crosby. Crosby has had another great season, with over 100 points, and nearly 40 goals, but it is another achievement that he is on the verge of that should excite fans the most. For the first time in his career it looks as though Crosby will play every game of the 82 game schedule. This has been especially important this season as the Pens have faced some tough times on the injury front. With nearly every other star player missing time, the most recent being Evgeni Malkin who has been on the shelf with a foot injury. The Penguins will likely have him back for the playoffs however, and that is when it really counts for Pittsburgh.

Jets

After the embarrassing collapse in Anaheim where the Jets let a 4 goal lead slip through their fingers, they rebounded impressively with a 2-1 shootout win in Phoenix and left the road trip with half of the possible points. Now the Jets return home where they will play 3 of their final 5 games. The Jets will be competing largely for the fans at this point as their playoff hope rest on them pretty much winning the lottery. 5 wins themselves and a ton of help from everyone else. As I’ve written in the past week, now is largely about observing talent and working on a future plan. Whether there will be changes in the off-season or not remains to be seen but you can be sure that rumors will swirl and theories will be put forward all off season.

Keys to the Game

Something for the Crowd: The Winnipeg crowd continues to support the Jets and be among the top of the league, though the playoffs are not in the cards this season at least send Winnipeg home happy.

Earn the spot between the Pipes: Winnipeg biggest question in the off-season will be goal tending. Pavelec has been disappointing since signing a big contract and Al Montoya is up for free agency, who has that number one spot come next season could be anyone.

Control Crosby: Leading the scoring race is incredibly impressive, however, leading by 20 points is unbelievable. You must shut down the best player in the game if you want a shot at this game.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (21-25-7) GAA: 3.01 SV% .902
Marc-Andre Fleury (36-18-4) GAA: 2.36 SV% .916

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

Goc PIT, (ankle) day-to-day
Malkin PIT, (foot) day-to-day
Martin PIT, (broken hand) out
Vitale PIT, (upper body) day-to-day
Letang PIT (stroke) out
Dupuis PIT, (torn ACL) out
Vokoun PIT, (blood clot) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 4-5-1
Penguins: 4-5-1

Prediction

Penguins good, too good
Penguins 4 Jets 2

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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!