JETBLAST: ARIZONA @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Arizona Coyotes (16-23-4) at Winnipeg Jets (24-14-8) 6:00 p.m., MTS Center,
TV: City Radio: TSN 1290
After a surprisingly successful two game road trip the Winnipeg Jets return home for their third meeting of the season with the Arizona Coyotes. In the first game of the season the Jets beat the Coyotes 6-2, and then just last week the Coyotes evened the season series with a 4-1 domination of the Jets. This will be the final meeting of the year between the current and former Winnipeg teams and it is a winner take all situation. The Jets have been on a role lately and playing some great hockey, especially since most of their injuries have healed, the Yotes have struggled this season and may be an easy target for the Jets. That was thought last week however, so you never know, Jets and Coyotes in a Sunday night match up, Lets Go!

Coyotes

The Wild played less than 24hrs ago in Minnesota, where they suffered a 3-1 loss. The Wild outplayed and outshot the Coyotes for most of the night, and that is why Arizona lost. The Yotes try to bounce back tonight with the match up against Winnipeg however, after an 8pm start Saturday, the 6 o’clock Sunday game will be very hard. Anytime a team plays a back to back they are on a disadvantage. It will be just as tough for Arizona tonight as there is only 22hrs between games, not to mention the way Winnipeg has been playing. With Mike Smith playing last night in Minnesota, you would expect the Coyotes go to their new back up Sunday. After dealing Devon Dubnyk last week to the Wild, those back up responsibilities fall on Mike Lee. Lee was just recalled from Gwinnett of the ECHL where he has appeared in 5 games going 1-3-1. If the Yotes do decide to start Lee it will be his first NHL start, and you have to think the Jets will have an advantage. If not they go to Mike Smith on back to back night and it is always interesting to see how a goalie reacts to that situation. Either way, between the pipes you have to expect that it is advantage Winnipeg.

Jets

After a bit of a lull last week, the Jets have rebounded and now have won 3 of 4 and earned 7 of an 8 possible points in those games. They have also widen the gap between themselves and the non-playoff teams, as well as reeled in the other Central division teams to sit just a few points behind a top 3 seed. It has been an unreal transformation for this team who is now thirteen points better than they were at this point last season. More than just the numbers, this team looks like a completely different team to that whom played here the last few years. They are in every game and are consistently beating good teams. With Friday nights 4-2 win over the Blackhawks, the Jets have won the season series against Chicago, now up 3-0, with all those wins coming on the road and two remaining games at home. The Jets did pay the price Friday however as just as it looked like the Jets were healthy, one more may be joining the injury list. Mathieu Perreault who has been the hottest Jet, took a cross check to the arm from Daniel Carcillo and immediately left the game. Carcillo who has been offered an in person hearing for the play, got Perreault right where he has no padding. It appears Perreault has no long term damage but it is expected he may miss time, which can only be bad news for Winnipeg. Losing an enormous threat on your second line may be huge but the Jets have the skill to overcome it.

Keys to the Game

Take Advantage: The Jets missed an opportunity last week when they went into Arizona and absolutely laid an egg. The Yotes dominated the Jets and won 4-1. Now they get a second chance at the Coyotes, and to boot they will be coming in on their second game in as many nights. After last nights match up in Minnesota, the Coyotes are sure to be slightly worn out, and the Jets definitely have the skill advantage. The Jets need to be able to do what has to be done and they should be able to dominate the Arizona Coyotes.

Evander Kane: Kane has raised his level of play recently and without him the Jets may not be as hot as they are right now. It appears, with the injury to Mathieu Perreault that Kane may be rewarded for his play. With Perreault out, you would expect Evander Kane to take his spot on the second line and that will give him a chance to raise his play even more, with much stronger offensive linemates.

Finish strong: The Jets have two more games before the All-Star break, they take on Arizona Sunday and one more against Columbus on Wednesday. Both those games are very winnable, and Winnipeg needs to take advantage of that. Their second half schedule will not be easy as they still have many match ups with difficult opponents. A strong finish before the break sets them up for a solid second half.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (11-10-6) GAA: 2.46 SV% .913
Mike Lee: No games played this season

Injuries

Trouba, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Perreault, WPG, (Arm) day-to-day

Doan, ARI, (LBI) day-to-day
Gormley, ARI, (LBI) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-4-1
Coyotes: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets dominate the tired Coyotes to win season series.
Jets 6 Coyotes 3

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!