The night after one of the most exciting days on the NHL calendar, the trade deadline, these two teams who were largely inactive meet. Although sitting right beside each other in the standings this is the story of two completely different teams. While Montreal battles for the top spot in the conference, Winnipeg looks to be a team that is holding onto the playoffs with their last bit of strength, and now need some help if they want to survive.
The Canadiens have been one of the top teams in the league all year and post a very stiff test for the struggling Jets. Montreal has only lost 8 games this season, and have had flashes of brilliance in every position. However, for the Habs it all starts with franchise goaltender Carey Price. In recent years Price has shown himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the game, and is an early favorite to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic games. With 18 wins this year and 3 shutouts, he is the key to Montreals success and often their play goes as his does.
Winnipeg has given their supporters little to cheer about in the last week. Losing 4 straight at the most important time of the season has erased any lead the Jets had not only in the Southeast but also at the bottom of the Eastern conference standing. They are now not only fighting for the 3rd seed, but any seed at all. There is no easy answer as to why the Jets have struggled, they have struggled in every facet of the game. Adding to fans frustration, the Jets were all but silent as the deadline approached, the only move they did make was claiming 27-year-old Mike Santorelli off waivers from the Florida Panthers. The Vancouver native is playing in his third full NHL season, after scoring 20 his first big league season he has regressed and this year has just 2 goals and an assist. The other big addition to the Jets roster was the some what surprising addition of Jacob Trouba who made the decision to leave University and join the big club. It is unclear when he will get his first NHL game experience but he will be joining the big club on the road this week.
Turn it around: Time has slipped away for the Jets. They cannot afford many more losses as with each point they fail to acquire, their chances of getting a playoff spot drastically fall. The Jets need to start winning and fast if they want to find a partner in the post season dance.
Traffic: Price is too good to beat on a clean shot, if he can see it, he will stop it. Winnipeg needs to get to the net, deflect pucks and make life difficult for the Canadiens net minder.
Special Teams: The only way to describe the Jets play man up or man down recently is bad. Not many playoff teams are near the bottom of both categories so the Jets need to pick it up on both ends to get wins.
Ondrej Pavelec (15-17-2) GAA: 2.84 SV% .904
Carey Price (18-6-4) GAA: 2.24 SV% .916
Redmond WPG, (Thigh Laceration) out
Peluso WPG, (Hand) out
Slater WPG, (Upper Body) out
Wright WPG, (Unknown) questionable
Antropov WPG, (Lower Body) out
Clitsome WPG, (Upper Body) out
Armstrong MTL, (Lower Body) out
Diaz MTL, (Concussion) out
Bourque MTL, (Concussion) out
Jets play improves, but Montreal too much to handle
Canadiens 4 Jets 2