A rare foe visits the MTS Centre Thursday afternoon when the Detroit Red Wings come to town. The Wings and Jets have had minimal contact since Winnipeg returned to the league. These teams have always been in separate conference, with the Wings swapping over to the East at the same time the Jets moved to the West. It was of course Detroit who ended Winnipegs time in the league the first time around, beating them 4-1 in the 6th game to eliminate the Jets not only from the 1996 playoffs, but also the league. This season both teams have been surprisingly good and both sit in a playoff spot, something most experts would not have predicted. Both teams look to improve their position in the standings Thursday night, Lets Go!
The Detroit Red Wings are a team that seems to never slump, never take a step back, never rebuild. Just when you think they are losing their big guns, somebody jumps into their place and fills the role seamlessly. Right now the keys to the Red Wings are Pavel Datsuyk and Henrik Zetterberg. These two have carried this team for almost 10 years now and have kept them successful and a playoff team for almost their entire time. Datsyuk, though injured and day-to-day for Thursdays game, is the key to this team in all facets. He plays in all situations and has been one of the best two way players in the game for years now. The Wings are working on getting a win streak going and will give the Jets a different look. Czech goalie Petr Mrazeck will get his first start of the season. Mrazeck had success in Junior and is still looking to break out in the pros. He will be a key to keep your eye on for the Wings success Thursday night.
The Winnipeg Jets got back on track Tuesday with a mostly dominating win over the New Jersey Devils. Winnipeg did everything right and earned two points with a hard fought 3-1 win. The most interesting aspect of Tuesdays game was the line shuffling that Paul Maurice did. Most notably, the line of Scheifele, Lowry, and Frolik looked great for the Jets and scored two goals and got many more chances. Adam Lowry really showed a lot in his just over 11 minutes on the ice, with numerous takeaways and great backchecking. He also set up the third goal and missed an empty netter himself in the final minute. Lowry is showing the potential to be one of the best 3rd liners in the league, if he can continue to grow, fill out, and improve, watch out for him in a couple years as one of the best playing his role.
Tight D: Winnipeg sits 4th in GA in the league this year. Though there are many questions offensively, people are starting to believe in the Jets defensive game. They need to continue this because good D and proper defensive positioning is how this team will win.
Power Play: The Jets are 0 for their last 18 with the man advantage, including over 3 minutes of 5 on 3 time. It is a broken record at this point but the Jets need to take advantage when they are given the chance with an extra skater. For a team struggling to score goals, the power play should be where you look.
Traffic: With Petr Mrazeck making his first start the Jets need to make life difficult for him. They have the opportunity to take advantage of a goalie who has not seen NHL action. If they make the smart play, put the puck to the net, and make standing in there difficult for Mrazeck the Jets may be able to put some goals on the board.
Ondrej Pavelec (7-6-2) GAA: 2.14 SV% .923
Petr Mrazeck (First Start of the Season)
Datsyuk, DET, (Groin) day-to-day
Smith, DET, (Hand) out
Gustavsson, DET, (Shoulder) out
Weiss, DET, (Groin) out
Jets make it two straight
Jets 3 Red Wings 2
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