JETBLAST: OTTAWA @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Ottawa Senators (27-23-11) at Winnipeg Jets (32-20-12) 6:30 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: Sportsnet Radio: TSN 1290
The Winnipeg Jets and the Ottawa Senators will meet in front of the nation for the second and final time this season. On November eighth the Jets won a 2-1 shootout decision against the Sens on the stick of Mathieu Perreault’s winner. The Jets continue to just barely hold on to their playoff spot, while the Senators sit 6 points behind, with 3 teams in front of them. Most likely, the rest of the season is pride for the Sens but don’t tell them that. The Senators are hot and expect a very competitive game at the MTS Centre tonight. Note the special 6:30 start time, Jets and Senators, Lets Go!

Senators

As it has seemed to go the last month or so, the Senators are just the latest team to be matched up with the Winnipeg Jets coming in on a super hot streak. The Senators have earned points in 9 of their last 10, including their most recent play, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild less than 24hrs ago. You can be sure this team has a new found sense of confidence and belief in themselves after this recent stretch. After being way out of the race and a big contender in the draft lottery game a few weeks ago, this 7-1-2 stretch has them back in the Wildcard conversation, just 6 points out with two games in hand. Though they will have to leap frog a couple a teams to do it, if the Senators can continue to play at the level they are currently playing, they may find themselves in some very important games come the end of this month.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets surprised a lot of people with their performance Sunday afternoon. Not only did the Jets beat the Los Angelas Kings for a huge two points in the standings, but they dominated LA for much of the night en route to a 5-2 win. Eleven different players registered at least a point for Winnipeg who chased Jonathan Quick from the net, and beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions in nearly every statistical category. Not only were the Jets busy on the ice, but Kevin Cheveldayoff continued his hard work from the office. Mid-way through the game the Jets confirmed they had made another move to improve their bottom six forwards adding Lee Stempniak from the New York Rangers for Carl Klingberg. With the depth of the Jets prospects, it was clear Klingberg did not have a place with this club, and in Stempniak, the Jets plugged another hole, and went a long way to giving themselves a full 4 line attack. With 9 goals and 9 assists this year, the 5’11 forward will play on the third line with Wheeler and Lowry, pushing Thorburn down to the fourth with Slater and either Peluso or Pardy. The top two lines will stay the same for the Jets who have earned 5 of a possible 6 points during their current home stand.

Keys to the Game

Craig Anderson: The Senators goaltender will make his first start since January 21. Anderson who had played the vast majority of the Senators games up to that point missed the last month and a bit with a hand injury. There are two ways to look at this: 1, Anderson is well rested, 100%, and read to get back into the net. The other option is rust, not fully recovered, and not game ready. The Jets need to hope that it is the latter and put pucks to the net all night. Make Anderson work hard, fight through screens and move a lot. You need to test him and see if he is game ready.

Play your Game: The Senators went to overtime with the Minnesota Wild last night and then had to travel to Winnipeg, fatigue will always be a factor at that point. The Jets are known for two things, size and speed. If the Jets play that style, hit everything that moves and everyone is on their horse and really going all out, they should be able to skate circles around a tired Ottawa team playing the last game of a 5 game road trip.

Playoff Watch: Last night everyone won and nobody gave the Jets any kind of help. LA, Calgary, Minnesota, San Jose, and Dallas all won. The lead the Jets have is unlikely to grow on off nights the way all these teams are playing so the Jets have to do their part on the ice when they are playing. Tonight is especially big, it is one of the Jets few games down this home stretch that isn’t against a playoff team. There is no reason the Jets can have that prevent them from earning two points. Every game is a must win for this team and this is no exception.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (19-7-5) GAA: 2.29 SV% .919
Craig Anderson (13-11-7) GAA: 2.37 SV% .927

Injuries

Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Halischuk, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Perreault, WPG, (LBI) out
Chiarot, WPG, (Broken Hand) out

Neil, OTT, (Broken Thumb) out
Smith, OTT, (Wrist) out
Phillips, OTT, (Undisclosed) out
Lehner, OTT, (Concussion) out
MacArthur, OTT, (Concussion) out
Cowen, OTT, (Flu) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-2-2
Senators: 7-1-2

Prediction

Jets pick up another must needed 2 points
Jets 4 Senators 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!