WINNIPEG (3-2-1) at Florida (1-4-0)
Winnipeg plays game two of their 3 game road swing tonight with a inter divisional match up against the Florida Panthers. Last season the two teams split their 6 games with 3 of the them going to extra time. Despite the teams playing very even against each other during the season, the Panthers were a much more complete team which saw them win the Southeast division and head into the playoffs where they lost a hard fought 7 game opening round series to the New Jersey Devils.
Florida has been one of the biggest dissapointments in this early part of the season. After opening with a win agaisnt the Carolina Hurricanes the Panthers have dropped 5 straight and managing only 5 goals total in those losses. Florida has been let down by every part of their game early in the season, from the goaltending right on out to the offense. In such a short season if this losing streak continues a few more games the Panthers could find themselves out of the hunt early so they will be looking to turn it around.
In Montreal Tuesday night Winnipeg could not muster much of anything. Although once again coming back to tie a game that they were trailing by two the Jets did not have enough in the tank to complete the comeback once again. Winnipeg will be looking to forget that result quickly as there was not much to build on. They took a season high in penalties, season low in shots, and looked outmatched physically for much of the game against a smaller team. Winnipeg needs more consistency from their role players then they have gotten recently. Alexander Burmistrov who looked great against the Islanders Sunday was near invisible as was much of the 3rd and 4th lines in Montreal. Winnipeg needs a solid effort from 4 full lines every night if they want a chance to play post season hockey.
Keys to the Game
Turnovers: Florida has not been able to generate offence on their own this season so Winnipeg needs to protect the puck and not give the Panthers any chances for odd man rushes or free chances. If Winnipeg is able to be responsible with the puck they will go a long way to shutting down the Panthers offence.
Power Play: The Jets’ power play has been all over the place. At times they look brilliant and unstoppable and have come up with some huge goals for Winnipeg. However, there are other chances that the Jets are given where they are not even able to get the puck into the offensive zone. Winnipeg needs to keep it simple on the power play. Get some traffic and feed your big guns at the point to put some pucks on net.
Big Buf: The last two keys are two areas of the game that Dustin Byfuglien is often critiqued on. He is obviously the player that Winnipeg runs the power play around, trying to set up the cannon from the point. With Dustin you often have to trade some of the defensive responsibility for his great offensive skills, but in this game he needs to toe the line. Agaisnt Montreal there were a few odd man rushes due to poor decisions made by Byfuglien and he needs to cut those out for this team to be successful.
Ondrej Pavelec (2-2-1) GAA: 2.57SV% .918
Jose Theodore (1-4-0) GAA: 3.47 SV%: .904
Bogosian WPG, (Wrist) out
Miettenen WPG, (Upper body) out
Weiss FLA, (Groin) questionable
Caruso FLA, (Arm) out
Bergenheim FLA, (Groin) out
Gudbranson FLA, (Shoulder) out
Goc FLA, (Ankle) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Jets find some secondary scoring and get another divisional road win
Jets 5 Panthers 3