Winnipeg opens up a 5 game road swing tomorrow night when they visit the Buffalo Sabres. Both teams have struggled so far this season finding themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Last season Winnipeg had the Sabres number beating them in 3 of the 4 match ups, their only loss coming in overtime. Both teams desperately need to turn their seasons around fast if they want to make it to the post season and that journey will start tonight.
After starting the season with 2 straight wins and some optimism, Buffalo has dropped off and now find themselves losing and in the cellar of the East. In their last game Sunday morning Buffalo played the Penguins about as tight as anyone has this season and even has a third period lead before surrendering two straight and taking a 4-3 loss. As to be expected Ryan Miller has been the center piece of this team playing stellar in the goal, unexpected however has been the play of Thomas Vanek. Leading the league with 25 points and 12 goals Vanek has been the surprise of the league, ahead of Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos and all others.
Winnipeg played another game that you cannot really be to disappointed with, playing right with one of the best teams in the Eastern conference until the final buzzer. However as has become the trend for much of this year the Jets just couldn’t get it done. After 3 straight losses, all of which at home, Winnipeg needs to play strong on this road trip or they could find their season all but over with only Nathan Mackinnon or Seth Jones to play for. Scoring remains an issue but the two point night for Alexander Burmistrov and Evander Kane getting back on the board could be huge for the Jets.
Keys to the Game
Traffic: Winnipeg needs to get to the net early and often if they want to create some offense. Lately they have been leaving all their scoring until the last few minutes and struggling to create offence. Especially with Ryan Miller in the net traffic and rebounds will be a must.
Start Hard: Winnipeg needs to come flying out of the gate. Buffalos crowd can bring the volume and really change a game so taking them out of it early will be a factor. A quick goal, couple big hits and drawing a penalty or two will go a long way to getting Winnipeg a win.
The Big Save: It is a reoccurring theme this year but this teams success comes down to Pavelec. Although not playing poor he must be better and he has to make the timely save. The goal in the final minute or opening minute can not happen as they both did for Boston in Sundays game. Those goals can change the whole complexion of a game and Pavelec need to come up with the big save.
Ondrej Pavelec (3-8-1) GAA: 3.14 SV% .889
Ryan Miller (6-7-1) GAA: 2.91 SV% .914
Miettenen WPG, (Upper body) out
Montoya WPG, (Lower Body) out
Enstrom WPG, (Shoulder) out
Leino BUF, (Lower Body) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Jets: 3-7-0 Sabres: 4-6-0
Jets play tough road game, get the W
Jets 4 Sabres 3 O.T.