JETBLAST: WASHINGTON @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Washington Capitals (29-23-10) at Winnipeg Jets (36-23-12) 6:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: City Radio: TSN 1290
Winnipeg concludes a 3 game home stand today looking for the perfect sweep, and the chance at a 4 game win streak overall. They have a tough test to do that as the Washington Capitals will be visiting the MTS Centre at 6pm tonight on Hockey Night in Canada. This will be the second and final meeting between these teams, in the first the Capitals just demolished the Jets just a few nights after the All Star break. Five to one was the score but the Jets were never in the game, which was dominated from start to finish by the Caps. This is a different Jets team however and they will look to get revenge on the high flying Caps, Jets and Capitals, across the nation on Hockey Night in Canada, Lets Go!

Capitals

The Capitals are in the same position as the Jets on the other side of the league. Sitting in a wild card spot currently, the Caps will be in a dog fight down the stretch to stay ahead of Boston, Florida, and most surprisingly the Ottawa Senators. The recipe is easy with the Caps, they have the best goal scorer in the game Alex Ovechkin, and he plays with one of the better set up men going today in Nick Backstrom, the two have combined for over 140 points so far this season. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 47 goals and will look to build on it today. Historically, the Jets have not been able to slow Ovechkin down to much, as he has torched the Jets, going back to the days of the SouthEast division. The Capitals will lean on their power play, one of the deadliest in the league, working at 25.2% and they are 9/21 in their last 9 games. The Caps have also won 3 straight so expect a tough game at the MTS Centre tonight.

Jets

The Jets finally slayed the dragon that is the St. Louis Blues Thursday night. Many have talked about the chance of these teams meeting in the first round of the playoffs, before Thursday the only negative in that was the fact that Winnipeg had not beaten St. Louis. However, these teams played another absolutely fantastic game, back and fourth and the Jets came out on the right side with a 2-1 shootout win. Besides being the first time the Jets beat the Blues, it was also the first time they managed to win a game when trailing after the second period. Kind of a sad stat as we are 70 games into the season, but the Jets got it when it counted the most. Winnipeg tightened the grip on their playoff spot and got within a point of the seventh place Minnesota Wild. To continue that push the Jets will ice the same lineup tonight as they have the last couple games, the injured will be out once again, and the Jets will turn to Ondrej Pavelec for the fourth staight night.

Keys to the Game

Stay Composed: The Jets will get a huge boost from the MTS Centre crowd who has cranked it up to another volume lately, bringing the playoff noise. Use that energy,  but harness it and play smart. The Jets can not afford to get over excited and start taking penalties. If they spend time in the penalty box tonight, the puck will end up in their net, and the Jets will lose. Ovechkin and Backstrom have made a season of winning games and scoring power play goals, do not allow them the opportunity.

Score: The Caps are a great scoring team, however they also give up nearly three goals a game, almost a third of a goal more than the Jets allow. This may be the night that the Jets are able to score some goals and get the offense jump started. It is unlikely you are going to completely hold in the Offense of the Caps, but you will get a chance to answer back, take advantage of those chances and give Pavelec some offensive support.

Scoreboard Watching: The Jets find themselves in a better position than they have been recently, but all the teams in the race play today. Minnesota hosts St. Louis at 1, Vancouver and LA clash at 3, Columbus is in Calgary also at 3 and San Jose visits Montreal in the CBC game on HNIC. The Jets sit two points up on LA and 1 on Calgary. They are tied with Vancouver and one point behind Minnesota.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (16-14-7) GAA: 2.18 SV% .925
Braden Holtby (35-18-5) GAA: 2.11 SV% .922

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

Gleason, WSH, (UBI) day-to-day
Beagle, WSH, (Shoulder) day-to-day
Erskine, WSH, (Neck) out
Orlov, WSH, (Wrist) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-3-1
Blues: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets make it four straight in a track meet at the MTS Centre
Jets 4 Capitals 3

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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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