JETBLAST: COLORADO @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

 Colorado Avalanche (9-11-6) at  Winnipeg Jets (13-9-4)  7:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: TSN3 Radio:TSN 1290

The Jets return to action Friday night when the Colorado Avalanche come to town on the second night of their back to back. The Avs are coming off an 8pm game in Calgary Thursday, and are sure to be tired. Not to mention the fact that the game was extended to overtime after a late Flames goal, pushing Colorado’s arrival time in Winnipeg even further back. On the other hand, Winnipeg had the night off to recover from their 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. What is sure to be another highly contested inter-divisional game goes at 7 o’clock at the MTS Centre. Jets, Avs, Lets Go!

Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche seem to have taken a major step back in their development this season. After being the surprise of the NHL last year with their youth and speed, the Avs have regressed to where many thought they would be all along. The Avalanche now sit below .500 and well out of a playoff spot. This is still a incredibly dangerous team however, led by young skilled players. Possibly the most exciting of which is Nathan McKinnon. Mckinnon the first overall pick a couple years ago and last seasons Calder trophy winner has jumped right into the role of NHL star, skipping the growth period that most rookies take. Colorado is still a team to fear as the fire power they possess can change a game in an instant. The one thing Colorado needs to overcome will be fatigue. Last night in Calgary the Avs gave up a late lead and took a 4-3 overtime loss. The Flames tied the game with an empty net behind them, and scored in the second minute of overtime. Overtime is the last thing a team on their way to the second half of a back to back needs and Colorado will need to dig deep Friday night in Winnipeg.

Jets

Winning ugly seems to have become the mantra of the Winnipeg Jets this season. A 3-2 overtime win against Edmonton on Wednesday was just that, ugly. The Jets took a team they should have dominated and let them hang around and hang around, before falling behind early in the third. This team showed the fight they possess once again, scoring late in the third and again in overtime to earn the two points they needed. Jacob Trouba had a huge night for the Jets, scoring the games opening goal, and adding assists on both others. It was a great game for the American sophomore and the Jets will need more of it going forward as they are now two defenseman short. Zach Bogosian took a shot off the foot in the third period and will miss 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury, that as well as the injury that Tobi Enstrom suffered a week back leaves the Jets two D men short. One spot was filled, and filled well, by Ben Chariot last game and he will continue to step in. The other spot will be taken by Dustin Byfuglien who jumps back from his forward position to help fill a spot. It is a luxury not many teams have but Byfuglien can step back and play big minutes for Winnipeg who will desperately need someone to take these minutes.

Keys to the Game

Slow down the Game: Colorado is loaded with speed and skill, from captain Gabriel Landeskog, down to Matt Duschene, Nathan Mckinnon and the rest of the young offensive power. Winnipeg needs to slow down the game and not allow this to become a track meet. If it does the Jets will be in trouble and Colorado has the skill to fill the net.

Play Rough: The Avs are coming in on a back to back and are sure to be tired and a little sore. All season the Jets have excelled playing physically and they need to continue in this game, even take it to another level. Finish checks and and go after Colorado and take what little energy they left right out of them. If the Jets can win the physical battle they have a good shot at winning the game.

Goaltending: It is unclear if Paul Maurice will continue the rotating goalie style and go back to Michael Hutchinson, or, stick with the guy who is still his number one in Ondrej Pavelec. I expect to see Pavelec in the net and after some huge saves Wednesday that kept it a one score game after the Oilers took the lead, Pavelec has earned another start. The Jets need those game saving saves to continue for the team to keep winning.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (9-8-2) GAA: 2.21 SV% .919
Reto Berra (2-2-1) GAA: 3.57 SV% .883

Injuries

Enstrom, WPG, (LBI) out
Clitsome, WPG, (Undisclosed) day-to-day
Bogosian, WPG, (LBI) out

Cliche, COL, (Undisclosed) day-to-day
Mitchell, COL, (Leg) day-to-day
Street, COL, (Hand) day-to-day
Everberg, COL, (Shoulder) out
McGinn, COL, (Back) out
Stuart, COL, (Hamstring) out
Wilson, COL, (Shoulder) out
Winchester, COL, (Concussion) out
Bordeleau, COL, (Back) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-3-2
Avalanche: 5-5-3

Prediction

Jets take advantage of tired Avs
Jets 3  Avalanche 2

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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!