Two former South East divsion rivals clash Thursday evening in what is now an East vs. West match up. Though this season the Jets have only two losses to Eastern Conference opponenets, the Panthers have been a kryptonite to the Jets since their return to the league. For whatever reason the Jets have had trouble with the Panthers, the Panthers seem to have trouble with most everyone this season though so something has to give. Both teams look to gain some ground on the clubs in front of them so grab a drink with an umbrella in it and enjoy the action all the way from Florida.
Another season for Florida leads to more dissapointment. The Panthers who went out in the off season and signed some veterans, most notably Tim Thomas, and expected to be a playoff contender, have faultered. The Panthers have just 7 wins this season, and just 1 in their last 6. That being said the Panthers do own wins over the Pens, Avs, Ducks, and Wild this season, showing they do have the necessary skills on certain nights. It is not just the win column that shows the Panthers as one of the worst teams in the NHL. If you look at the rest of the stats they tell much of the same story. Goals per game: 27th in the league, goals against per game: 26th. Special teams not much better, with both the PK and PP ranking 29th in the league. The Panthers have definitely struggled this season but if you take them soft they are capable of beating anyone.
The Jets improved to 3-1 on this season long road trip after a 5-2 win Monday night over the New York Rangers. the Jets should be very happy with their game Monday, especially the third period which saw Winnipeg score 3 goals and really take over the hockey game. Especially impressive was the make shift line of Olli Jokinen, Chris Thorburn and Devon Setoguchi. Thorburn who joined the line in place of the injured Evander Kane will get another chance to impress Thursday, as Kane is expected to once again sit out. When this team can manage scoring from their second and third lines, as well as the big guns, they are very dangerous. The Jets need this game, they need to take advantage of a poor opposition and claim a fourth win on this road trip.
Special Teams: The Jets power play is dreadful, and the penalty kill is nothing special. Luckily for them on this night however, the Panthers special teams is worse. Take advantage and make the Panthers pay if they go man down.
No turnovers: The Panthers are having trouble scoring. Their leading scorer is Scottie Upshall with only 14 points. The Jets have 7 players with more than that. If they don’t give chances away, they will not get scored on.
Play Jets hockey: The Jets have a habit of playing down to this team. Play your hockey and you should be able to walk over the Panthers.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-10-3) GAA: 2.66 SV% .917
Tim Thomas (6-10-1) GAA: 2.96 SV% .904
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Bogosian WPG, (lower body injury) out
Kane WPG, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Gilroy FLA, (lower body injury) out
Kopecky FLA, (hand) out
Jovanovski FLA, (hip) out
Total domination for Winnipeg, outshoot the Panthers by 10 + and outscore them as well
Jets 4 Panthers 0
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