JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ DETROIT

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (28-19-10) at Detroit Redwings (31-13-9) 7:00 p.m., Joe Louis Arena,
TV: City Radio: TSN 1290
It is hockey day in Canada, all 7 Canadian teams are in action, and that includes the second meeting between the Detroit Redwings and the Winnipeg Jets. In their first meeting, the Jets played the Wings very tough in Winnipeg and looked like they may be able to walk away with an enormous two points. Then came a collapse, the Jets gave up to late third period goals and were unable to equal, falling by a score of 4-3. These two teams are on very different roads right now, the Jets are slumping, only 3 wins in their last 10, but look slightly better the last four or five. The Wings on the other hand are just another one of the NHLs hottest teams, a trend that seems to be following the Jets. The Wings have won 8 of 10 and sit just 3 points behind the Montreal Canadiens for top spot in the Eastern Conference. Jets and Wings on a big day for Canadian hockey, Lets Go!

Redwings

The Detroit Red Wings are doing it again, despite the expectation that this team is getting to old to be an elite team in the NHL. However, once again this year the Wings are hovering right at the top of the Eastern Conference, and most of that credit, can go to the scouting staff. Everyone knows the stories of guys like Pavel Datsyuk, a sixth round pick of the Wings who blossomed into one of the best players this generation. Well with players like Thomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist the Wings staff has done it again. It appears the Wings have sealed their contention for another generation with these guys, and the legend of the ageless Red Wings will continue. Tatar, who scored the winning goal the first time these teams met, now has 39 points this year in 53 games, including 6 game winning goals. While Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still the undisputed leaders of this team on and off the ice, the new generation is coming, and they are just as willing and able to win games for this team as anyone else. Opponents can no longer focus on stopping one line, the Wings have multiple scoring threats and if you don’t play a sound defensive game, they will beat you.

Jets

The Jets lost Thursday evening, snapping a two game win streak and a 4 game point streak. A disappointing loss for the Winnipeg team who seemed to play just as good, if not better than they had the last few games. Unfortunately the Jets ran into one of the best goaltenders in the league, and even more unfortunate, is that he plays for the best team in the league. You saw Thursday the difference between a number one team, and a team fighting for the playoffs. Fans have a reason to be excited for the future, but they may just not be today. Going forward though, the Jets are still in contention and need a win. Some good news, Tyler Myers looks to be good to go for tonight. After getting hit square in the knee from a Shea Webber slap shot, Myers left the ice and did not return, but appears to be fine headed into tonight. The Jets need their full lineup to beat a team that is so hot. You also hope that all 4 lines can play some minutes and be effective for Paul Maurice. If the Coach cannot count on all 4 of his lines, the Jets won’t be getting the win tonight.

Keys to the Game

Bounce Back: The Jets played very well Thursday night but just could not manage to get the two points. There is no shame in losing to the leagues top team, however, when you play so well it is tough to swallow a loss like that. The Jets cannot dwell on it to long however and must get their noses right back into it. Losing is no longer an option for Winnipeg as the grip on their playoff spot has shrunk and shrunk, and now, depending on the games in hand, they may even be on the outside looking in. Time to get back on your feet and get a few wins.

All 6 D: With the addition of Tyler Myers and the return of Dustin Byfuglien to the defensive line, the Jets now have a very solid top six, all of whom can be counted on to contribute good, reliable play. Coach Maurice has said he’d like to see all his defenseman get 20 minutes or more, and this is one of the few 6 man crews in the NHL that can do that. If the D can do their job, the Jets have a very good chance to win.

Time to win: The Jets have no more time to lose games. They are in the stretch run, only 25 games to go, and it seems they cannot lose a single one. With so many teams in this race, everyday is scoreboard watching and every game becomes a must win. the Jets need to do their part every night, earning points, and they need to hope for some help around the league.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (15-7-3) GAA: 2.18 SV% .925
Jimmy Howard (31-7-2) GAA: 2.01 SV% .929

Injuries

Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Halischuk, WPG, (Undisclosed) out

Franzen, DET, (Concussion) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 3-5-2
Redwings: 8-2-0

Prediction

Jets play well again, but cannot manage to beat the Wings.
Wings 2 Jets 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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