JETBLAST: MONTREAL @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Montreal Canadiens (46-20-8)  at Winnipeg Jets (38-24-12) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: TSN3 Radio: TSN 1290
After a very disappointing loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Winnipeg Jets look to rebound against the best team in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal became the first team to crack 100 points earlier this week, and look to grab another two points tonight. Carey Price led the Canadiens to a shut out victory in the only other meeting this year between the two teams. Winnipeg lost ground earlier this week but with the start of a 4 game home stand, the Jets will be looking to get back on track, Jets and Habs, Lets Go!

Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are the best team in the league and are going to be a team you have to go through to get to the cup. They will be one of the favorites to come out of the East and have earned that with solid play all season. The Habs are built from top to bottom to win it all, and they have a little bit of everything. It all starts in the Habs crease where they have possibly the best goalie in the world in Carey Price. Price has been stellar all year and should be among the favorites to win the Hart trophy. On D, they have the perfect mix of tough checking and stay at home guys, along with some guys who can join the offensive and contribute, like P.K. Subban. They have 4 strong forward lines, led by leading scorer Max Pacioretty who can generate offense out of nowhere and makes things happen. This is the end of a road trip for Montreal who returns home for 3 games on their way to the chance to win the Presidents Trophy.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets had their 5 game winning streak snapped when they gave up 5 straight goals to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night on their way to a 5-2 loss. It was disappointing for the Jets, and made all the worse when every team they are in competition with won and gained ground. Some people have hit the panic button, but it is a false alarm in my mind. The Jets were playing the second half of a back to back and 4th in the last six nights. Fatigue is to be expected and if you take out two empty net goals the whole game comes down to a couple defensive break downs. It is understandable but the Jets cannot afford many more of those, they need to put that in the past and now go forward. The Jets are starting a four game home stand against a couple of the best teams in the league, they need to respond, and prove this week that they deserve to be considered a playoff team, just like the teams they are facing.

Keys to the Game

Catching a Break: It is hard to say the Jets are lucky when they are playing the best team in the league, but tonight they do have a bit of luck in their corner.  Hart trophy candidate Carey Price will spend the night on the bench, replaced by back up Dustin Tokarski for a little bit of a break. Though Tokarski is no slouch, it is always an advantage to take the top guy out of the net and the Jets will hope they can get to Tokarski early and often.

Bounce Back: The Jets made a couple mental mistakes on Tuesday night that cost them 2 very important points. They gave up a 2 goal lead and lost that many points to their main competitors in the standings. Now Winnipeg needs to bounce back and get themselves back into a favorable position and make a huge statement to the rest of the league by knocking off the best team in the league.

Scoreboard Watching: The Jets finally got a small, small amount of help from the rest of the league when the Dallas Stars beat the Calgary Flames in a shootout last night. That keeps the Flames one point behind the Jets. Winnipeg also holds on to a two point lead over the LA Kings, though LA does have a game in hand. The Kings take the ice against the New York Islanders tonight in New York.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (18-14-7) GAA: 2.36 SV% .917
Dustin Tokarski (6-5-3) GAA: 2.66 SV% .917

Injuries

Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Perreault, WPG, (LBI) out
Byfuglien, WPG, (UBI) day-to-day
Little, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Chiarot, WPG, (Broken Hand) out
Postma, WPG, (LBI) day-to-day

Gilbert, MTL, (Jaw) day-to-day
Flynn, MTL, (UBI) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-4-0
Canadiens: 5-2-3

Prediction

Jets and Candiens battle in a tight game, home crowd helps get the job done
Jets 2 Canadiens 1

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!

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