Both teams come into Sundays matchup one day after bad road losses and will be looking to give better performances. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this year and also marks Alexei Ponikarovskys first game against the Jets since being traded for a couple draft picks last week. New Jersey has quietly been one of the top teams in the league and although struggling a bit as of late will mark a very tough back to back match up for the Winnipeg Jets.
New Jersey is coming off an afternoon thrashing they took at the hands of the Washington Capitals yesterday, being dominated by a 5-1 score. New Jersey has however been near unbeatable this year. Carried by their patented defensive play and strong as alway goalie Martin Brodeur. This remains a team that does not focus on offense much but forces you to make mistakes and capatalizes on the chances. It is a style that has often been criticised but the results are hard to argue with and the Devils show no sign of changing, unfortanatley for the rest of the league.
Plain and simple the Jets blew an opportunity yesterday. Winnipeg had a two goal lead before giving up 4 straight goals to the Flyers including 3 on the powerplay. Winnipeg took bad penalties, wasted their power play opportunities and blew a chance to gain some very valuable points in the Southeast division. Their were a few bright spots in the game for Winnipeg, Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler each continued their strong offensive play and Olli Joikenen scored for the first time in ten games, tearing the monkey of his back in the process. Offense will be a key tonight as it is often hard to come by in New Jersey but they will need it from 4 full lines for 60 minutes.
Keys to the Game
Special Teams: Winnipeg has returned once again to the awful special teams play that has plagued them throughout the season. On one end they have gone nearly 20 power play attempts without a goal, on the other end they gave up 3 goals on the penalty kill yesterday which ended up costing the Jets the game.
Goaltending: Both teams have key parts in the net. For New Jersey, one of the best ever Martin Brodeur got the day off in yesterdays loss so he will be fresh and ready to go this afternoon. For Winnipeg Ondrej Pavelec will get the rare two starts in two days. He played well in Philadelphia with some great saves but was often abandoned by his team. It is sure to say the team that wins this match up will go a long way to getting a win.
Hockey IQ: Winnipeg needs to play smart in this game, they need to create offensive chances against a stingy defense while at the same time being responsible defensivley. The Devils feed off of turnover and mistakes, which the Jets need to limit if they want to win.
Ondrej Pavelec (5-9-1) GAA: 2.97 SV% .896
Martin Brodeur (8-2-3) GAA: 2.27 SV% .911
Miettenen WPG, (Upper body) out
Montoya WPG, (Lower Body) out
Enstrom WPG, (Shoulder) out
Redmond WPG, (Thigh Laceration) out
Carter NJD, (Upper Body) questionable
Zubrus NJD, (Wrist) out
Corrente NJD, (Shoulder) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Winnipeg is outclassed and outplayed
Devils 4 Jets 1