Two teams that seem to always have exciting games match up for the first time this season when the Philadelphia Flyers visit the MTS Center for their second game in as many nights to take on the Winnipeg Jets. These teams have treated fans to some great back and fourth games, that seem to always be goal filled affairs where no lead is ever safe. Everyone of course remembers the 9-8 game in Philadelphia in the first year of the Jets return, and that game has set the tables for many other 9 or 10 goal games. There is the opportunity for that again tonight as the Jets are missing the majority of their blue line and the Flyers are missing their number one goalie. Either way this is sure to be an exciting game, and the Flyers as always will bring a hole pack of fans to the MTS Center. It will be loud in there on a Sunday night when the Jets and Flyers face-off, Lets Go!
The Philadelphia Flyers have not got what they expected this season, but Saturday night was one of the few bright spots of this campaign. The Flyers have struggled all year and limped there way to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just 30 points in 32 games. Last night however the Flyers looked like a real team, and a 7-4 win came against one of the leagues hottest teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs. This offensive explosion is not unexpected from this team however as they do still have a lot of skill up front. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux are two elite NHL scorers and despite the team struggles, have excelled this season, sitting at numbers 1 and 2 in the points rankings. Anytime the leagues two best scorers are on the same team that usually spells trouble for anyone they play, and while that is true and teams do have to be careful, the back end has let the Flyers down. Scoring is one thing, but when you can’t keep the puck out of your own net you put a lot of pressure on the guys up front to go shot for shot with the other team. The Flyers cannot expect another 7 goal performance against this stingy Jets defence, but with the amount of injuries on the Jets blue line the Flyers will feel like they have a weakness to attack, and may be able to make life very difficult for Winnipeg.
After a 2-1 win Friday over Boston, the Winnipeg Jets continue their improbable hot streak. Top 4 defenseman out but the rest of the Jets don’t miss a beat, with their newest player, Jay Harrison even getting an assist in the game, just hours after arriving in Winnipeg. Each day, and each extra injury, people think it will be time for the floor to fall beneath the Jets feet. Somehow they just keep running though and have lost only 1 in their last 10. Winnipeg played their game against the Bruins and it was just what they needed. Despite a few games in this stretch, the Jets are not playing super exciting hockey, just very smart and very patient. Odd man rushes are rarities and when they happen the goaltending has been superb. Michael Hutchinson is the top goalie in the league in both Goals Against Average and Save Percentage, and his 7-2-2 record is making many wonder if he should be given this number one job. Paul Maurice has been unwilling to choose a goaltender however, and at least for now his back and fourth method seems to be getting Winnipeg wins. You get the sense at some point however the Jets will need to pick a horse, and ride him to the playoffs, or to another early summer.
Quick Start: The Winnipeg Jets have scored first 22 times this year, and have earned an impressive 13 wins in those games. Philadelphia on the other hand is 4-12-4 after giving up the first goal. The Jets need to score early and often and bury the Flyers chances early.
No let down: The Jets have played some very tough opponents in the last couple weeks and have continued to earn points and in many cases get W’s. Sunday night will be a different test for Winnipeg as the Flyers come in as serious contenders, not for the playoffs but for Connor McDavid. They also come in on a back to back and 3rd in 4 nights. The Jets cannot take this game lightly and need to earn the two points.
Take advantage: The Flyers lost their starting goalie Steve Mason to injury on Friday. Saturday night they will start Ray Emery against the Leafs which leaves them in a very interesting position. Do you start Emery for the second night straight, or do you turn to NHL rookie Rob Zepp. Either way the Jets will have a big advantage between the pipes and need to take advantage and win.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-8-4) GAA: 2.27 SV% .916
Ray Emery (6-4-1) GAA: 3.13 SV% .894
Enstrom, WPG, (LBI) out
Trouba, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Bogosian, WPG, (LBI) out
Stuart, WPG, (LBI) out
Mason, PHI, (UBI) out
Timonen, PHI, (Blood clot) out
White, PHI, (Groin) out
Another high scoring affair, Jets come out on top
Jets 4 Flyers 3
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