One of the hottest rivalries that has developed since the Jets return to Winnipeg takes another step Monday night when the Minnesota Wild visit the MTS Centre for their 5th meeting of the year. The rivalry has been pretty one sided so far this year with the Wild taking 3 of the first 4, and it shows in the standings. The Wild are on the verge of clinching, pretty much locked into the 1st wild card spot. The JEts continue to play for pride and after a win in Toronto have a chance to clinch a season over .500. Jets and Wild in Winnipeg Monday night, Lets Go!
The Minnesota Wild will almost certainly be heading to a playoff spot and hope to make some noise. It is not out of the question for the Wild to make a bit of a run, with strong play up front and the recent play of Ilya Bryzgalov, who looks to have regained his past form, the Wild are a dangerous team. Bryzgalov, who was acquired at the trade deadline has been great for the Wild, 5-0-3, 2 shutouts, and a 9.20 save percentage, is one of the leagues hottest goalies. The Wild appear to be strong in all assets of the game, from the front end all the way back, the Wild are going to be a very tough out come playoff time. One fact that has got to scare any playoff match up for the Wild, is their road record. They will finish the season over .500 away from home and have earned a point in 8 straight games out of Minnesota. They look to make it 9 on Monday.
Winnipeg back up above .500 after putting a huge dent in the Leafs playoff hopes and offering a little solace to Jets fans. The Jets have 3 more games this season, including another at home after tonight, the Jets have a good chance to finish above .500 which in the long run really doesn’t matter, however fans are clutching to anything positive to bring into next season. One story that came out of the game on Saturday is the status of head coach Paul Maurice who for the first time addressed his situation for next season. Maurice, who came to Winnipeg after the firing of Claude Noel, and has done a good job, was signed to a contract for just this season, Saturday he finally confirmed that he wants to come back next season. This is good news for Jets fans as Maurice seems to have gotten something out of his players and you’d like to see him build and grow this team.
Evander Kane: Kane was a healthy scratch in Toronto, it will be interesting to see how he takes it. If he is back in the lineup tonight can he bounce back and play well, or will he pout and play poor?
Traffic: Bryzgalov has been hot and will stop everything he can see, get in front of him and create some chaos or you will not have much success.
Set the tone: The Jets closest rival geographically has dominated the season series this year, and with 5 more games next season the Jets cannot let themselves be pushed around. Play tough and strong and make sure the Wild do not think you are an easy game.
Ondrej Pavelec (22-26-7) GAA: 3.01 SV% .901
Ilya Bryzgalov (10-8-8) GAA: 2.66 SV% .911
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
Stoner MIN, (lower body) day-to-day
Ballard MIN, (lower body) day-to-day
Granlund MIN, (upper body) day-to-day
Kuemper MIN, (upper body) day-to-day
Rupp MIN, (illness) day-to-day
Zucker MIN, (leg) out
Backstrom MIN, (soreness) day-to-day
Harding MIN, (illness) out
Wild take fourth of season vs Jets
Wild 3 Jets 1
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.