JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ CAROLINA

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (8-6-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (5-6-3) 6:00 p.m., PNC Arena, TV: TSN3  Radio:TSN 1290

The Jets begin a set of 3 games in 4 nights tonight when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes in Carolina. This will be the second, and final, time these two teams meet this season with the Jets winning game 1 by a 3-1 score on the back of Adam Lowry’s first goal as a pro. However these two teams have completely changed since that early October meeting. At that time the Hurricanes had yet to win a game, the Jets were struggling and the game was seen as a possible early match up in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. A short month has changed everything, the Jets now look like a completely new team and the Canes have been hot recently and are now sitting just one game under .500. Winnipeg is trying to get back on track while the Canes will be looking for  a second straight win and 6th in their last 7th, Jets, Canes Lets Go!

Hurricanes

Heading into their game on November 1st the Carolina Hurricanes were 0-6-2 and the team was a total disaster. How fast can things change in the NHL though? Carolina is a perfect example of that, including the game on November 1st against Arizona the Hurricanes have won 5 of 6 and earned a point in ever game this month. The team, who at a point this season made a real argument for not getting a win at all, now sits only 6 points out of a playoff spot and if their play continues, they will get there easily. The biggest change in Raleigh since the start of the year is health. This team could not buy a break early losing arguably their three best players to injury in the pre season, as well as several others. At this point however the only main piece the Canes are missing is Jordan Staal, and they look like a brand new team. Carolina has picked up their play and have been along with Winnipeg, one of the hottest teams in the league, they also have a guy who has been one of the best goalies in the league for years and is looking like it again. Cam Ward has had a great start and appears to have regained some of the form he lost the last couple seasons, it could be the perfect recipe to stump the offensively challenged Winnipeg Jets.

Jets

Tonight is the night we really see if we have a new team on our hands. Since their return the Jets have had similar stretches to the one they are enjoying right now. Stretches where it appears they can beat any team on any night, and Jets fans are quick to say, finally we are playing to potential. But, then a game like this rolls around, a team in the bottom half of the standings, a team Winnipeg should beat, but time after time, they haven’t. It appears this year the Jets may actually be a new team, a team that has accepted an identity and is playing consistent every night, but a loss in Carolina has the potential to send that all spinning away. The bright side is the Jets have the ingredients to make this thing a success. After earning at least a point in 8 straight they saw the streak come to an end at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens with a 3-0 loss. This was a game where you could not look at the score at get the big picture however, Winnipeg was the better team much of the night, had numerous encounters with the posts, and many break aways and grade A chances slip through their fingertips. This was a game that just as easily could have been 3-0 the other away. That is the way hockey goes however and the Jets will look to get back on track tonight when they visit Carolina.

Keys to the Game

Must Win: This is not your typical must win, but I believe for this team it is their biggest. If you lose this game you lose all the progress you have made with the fans and even your teammates. The Jets need to come out and put together a great performance.

Hutchinson: Michael Hutchinson will get his first start since shutting out the Blackhawks earlier this month. With two divisional games this weekend Ondrej Pavelec will get to rest and the team needs to be able to count on the number 2 man to make some saves and get them the win on this night.

Crooked Numbers: It got lost in the win streak but the amount of 0’s and 1’s the Jets put on the board was far to high, it is time the Jets put some offence together and start putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis. Look for the team to break out tonight and put some big numbers onto the scoreboard.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (1-1-0) GAA: 1.80 SV% .945
Cam Ward (5-3-1) GAA: 2.53 SV% .900

Injuries

Bellemore, CAR, (UBI) day-to-day
J. Staal, CAR, (Broken leg) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-2-2
Hurricanes: 5-4-1

Prediction

Jets offence comes to life, to much for the Canes
Jets 5 Hurricanes 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!