JETBLAST: COLUMBUS @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Columbus Blue Jackets (20-21-3) at Winnipeg Jets (25-14-8) 8:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: SN ONE Radio: TSN 1290
The Winnipeg Jets try to run their win streak to 5 tonight when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the MTS Centre. The Jets won the first meeting between the teams back in November in Columbus when Evander Kane scored two goals and Michael Hutchinson earned the win between the pipes. The Jackets come in also riding a hot streak, winning two straight and trying to sweep their 3 game road trip. This comes on the heels of a 4 game losing streak for the Jackets, who will return home after tonights game in preparation for the 2015 NHL All-Star game which takes place in Ohio. Both teams are trying to go into the break on a positive note, it’s Jets and Jackets special 8pm start time tonight at the MTS Centre, Lets Go!

Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been a disappointment this season, after a strong showing top make the playoffs, and a very exciting match up with the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, many expected this team to take another step. Unfortunately for Blue Jackets fans, the team went in the other direction and currently sit 13 points out of the second wild card, with 5 teams in between. It seems like a near impossible task for the Jackets but this team has shown resiliency in the past, so don’t expect them to pack it in and start playing for a draft pick. One player that Jackets fans can be especially proud of is Nick Foligno. Foligno has been a bright spot among much darkness in Columbus this season. He leads the team with 18 goals, add that to 24 assists and he is just shy of a point a game with 42 points and 43 games played. Foligno will have a leading role in this weekend festivities when he will captain one of the All Star squads, facing off against Jonathan Toews. Foligno and the Jackets look to continue their recent success and stretch the win streak to 3 before they become the center of the hockey world this weekend.

Jets

Two points is 2 points is all you can come out of Sunday nights game with, and it gave the Jets their first 4 game win streak of the year. After 7 games in 11 days, Coach Paul Maurice says there is not much you can really take from Sundays game. A great start, followed by a blown lead, and then a shootout win. The Jets didn’t play great, or even well for the full 60 minutes, but good teams find ways to win, and that is exactly what the Jets are doing, now sitting very safely in 7th place as well as tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central Division. The Winnipeg Jets will get another boost to their lineup with the return of Jacob Trouba. Trouba draws in for Mark Stuart, it will be his first action since suffering a hand injury in early December. It does come with a cost however as to put Trouba back in the lineup, Mathieu Perreault was put on the IR. There is no word on the severity of the injury, with the Jets still stating that he may return after the All-Star Break. The break may be interesting for another reason besides the game however, as the Jets are now carrying 9 defenseman on their roster, and when Perreault returns, one needs to go. Whether it be passing through waivers, or a trade, it is a story line worth watching for the Winnipeg Jets.

Keys to the Game

Bryan Little: The Jets first line center is quickly becoming one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Though he rarely practices recently, and he almost never takes morning skate, the play of Little has held up and he is one of the Jets that can always be counted on. Little clearly is battling some kind of injury, but if he can hold out for one more game, he at least has the all star break where he may be able to finally get some healing done.

Drive for five?: It is not quite as important as the Canada WJHC drive for five, however, 5 wins in a row would be huge for the Winnipeg Jets and with only 30 games and change left in the NHL season, ending the first half on a 5 game streak may be enough for the Jets to hold onto a spot in the post season. The Winnipeg Jets have never had a 5 game win streak, but Wednesday night they have a chance.

Penalty Kill: Hoping the Jets don’t take penalties is a losing battle at this point, the Jets have accepted their spot atop the league ranking in PIMs and times shorthanded. What they need to do then, is focus on killing the penalties they take. It will be especially important Wednesday as the Jackets have one of the best power plays in the league, operating at 25%. The Jackets have trouble scoring otherwise, so if the Jets can keep them off the board with the man advantage, they have a good shot at another 2 points.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (13-4-2) GAA: 2.00 SV% .932
Sergei Bobrovsky: (16-14-2) GAA: 2.80 SV% .915

Injuries

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

Jenner, CBJ, (Back) out
Gibbons, CBJ, (Knee) out
Anisimov, CBJ, (Torn Tricep) out
Murray, CBJ, (Knee) out
Horton, CBJ, (Back) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-3-1
Blue Jackets: 5-5-0

Prediction

Jets sweep season series and win their 5th straight!
Jets 4 Blue Jackets 1

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!