JETBLAST: SAN JOSE @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

San Jose Sharks (34-27-8) at Winnipeg Jets (34-23-12) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: TSN3 Radio: TSN 1290
For the third and final time this season the Winnipeg Jets and the San Jose Sharks will meet. The Sharks have won both match ups, the last being one of the Jets most devastating losses all season. In that game, the Jets were sure they had at least a single point, instead they got none. Tied, with under ten seconds remaining the face off took place to the left of Michael Hutchinson. The Sharks ran a beautiful play off the faceoff and all of a sudden the Sharks had the lead with under 3 seconds to play. If the Jets miss the playoffs, when they look back on the season, that will be one of the games Winnipeg looks at as the reason they missed. The Jets will go a long way to make that point mute if they can get a win tonight. It is Jets and Sharks, downtown Winnipeg, Lets Go!

Sharks

It has been turmoil on and off the ice much of this season for the Sharks. Since stripping Joe Thornton of the Captain’s C last summer, this franchise has been going through a bit of an identity crisis, halfway between a rebuild and a playoff chase. At this point the Sharks are a dark horse, near being relegated to a spoiler roll. At 5-5 in their last ten, the Sharks struggles have continued, and with a loss to Winnipeg, their fate may be sealed. This is about as close as you can get to a must win game with 13 games to go. The Sharks sit 5 points behind the last wild card spot, and 4 behind the Winnipeg Jets. The Sharks will rely on the core they seem to be turning their back on for the next couple weeks if they want to make the playoffs. As it seems every year, the top of the Sharks scoring page looks the same. Pavelski, Thornton, Marleau, the guys who have been doing it for years are still carrying the team, and will need to raise their play even more if the Sharks want to swim in post season waters.

Jets

It has been all good news for the Jets the last couple days. An enormous win against one of the leagues best teams in Tampa Bay, combined with a little bit of help in the standings put the Jets back into the playoff picture. They enjoyed a few days back in that position before watching the Kings win last night and put the Jets back on the outside looking in. The Jets will try to get back in tonight and it appears they will have some reinforcements. Both Tyler Myers and Dustin Byfuglien have been practicing with the team the last two days, and it appears the Jets will have their two top defense man back in the lineup. This changes the game completely, Byfuglien does a little bit of everything, and gives a boost to all facets of the game, offensive, defensive, special teams and physicality. Myers on the other hand, has been one of Paul Maurice’s most steady options since he arrived from Buffalo. He takes shifts in all situations and will be on the ice when the Jets need him most. Winnipeg is once again in dire straights and cannot afford to lose to somebody behind them in the standings.

Keys to the Game

Tough Home Stand: The Jets open up a very tough three game home stand tonight against San Jose. It will continue Thursday when the St. Louis Blues are in town and conclude Saturday against the Washington Capitals. These are three incredibly difficult games and ones in which the Jets need results. It has to start tonight, the Sharks are the only team of the three not currently in the playoff picture. The Blues have won all 3 meetings and the Caps dominated the Jets in their only meeting. Two points is a must tonight as the points will be hard to come by the rest of this stand.

Step in and Get Going: Though Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault will be out again, despite skating yesterday, the Jets do get reinforcements off the IR. There is no time to ease your way in though if you are Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. They need to come in and give the Jets what they expect at full health from these two. If they are not 100%, or at least playing like it, the Jets will be in tough.

Scoreboard Watching: The Los Angelas Kings won 1-0 last night moving 1 point ahead of the Jets for the final playoff spot. The Jets can reverse that tonight and possibly do more, with many teams in action. Both the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild are in tough with the Wild visiting Nashville, and the Flames hosting the St. Louis Blues. The Canucks who may be another team involved in the race by the end play host to Philadelphia tonight.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (14-14-7) GAA: 2.52 SV% .910
Antti Niemmi (27-19-7) GAA: 2.58 SV% .915

Injuries

Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Myers, WPG, (UBI) day-to-day
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

Brown, SJ, (Broken Fibula) out
Torres, SJ, (Knee) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 4-4-2
Sharks: 5-5-0

Prediction

Jets put themselves back into the playoff picture with a big home win
Jets 4 Sharks 2

Become an MVP

Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.

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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