JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ COLORADO

JETBLAST

 Winnipeg Jets (15-9-5) at  Colorado Avalanche (9-13-6)  8:00 p.m., Pepsi Center,
TV: TSN3 Radio:TSN 1290

For the third time already this season the Winnipeg Jets and the Colorado Avalanche will meet, and for the first time it will take place in the mile high city, Denver, Colorado. The Jets have owned the season series thus far,  earning a 2-1 overtime win in October, and thumping the Avalanche 6-2 on home ice just last week. The more recent, was one of the most exciting and loudest games at the MTS Centre in years, with the first ever hat trick in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history, and a whole lot of nastiness in the third period should make this game a little more interesting.  So far this season the biggest story of this match up has been the Jets shutting down the Avs high powered offense. Colorado has some questions on the back end so if they don’t get the offense going it may once again be a long night for the home team, Jets @ Avs, Lets Go!

Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have just not been able to get things going so far this year, everything they used last year to become a top team in the West has not been sustainable and the Avs have slid to the opposite end of the conference. When last year they could run and gun knowing they had Semyon Varlamov back there when they need him, it has not been like that this season. Varlamov has spent a lot of time on the IR and when he has been healthy, his numbers have not been nearly as good as they were last season. In the same vane, the offense has not been able to equal their output from last season, going from one of the highest scoring teams in the league, to just another team in the rankings, it is not good enough to create success on this team. The Avs are winless in their last 4 going 0-3-1 and hope Winnipeg is the answer to their problems, in more ways than one. With Varlamov out the Avs now turn to Winnipeg born Calvin Pickard to man the pipes, though he may not be getting the wins he would hope for, he has played quite well this season, and is in no way a step down or really playing like a number 3 for this team.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets got back on the winning track with another dominating performance within their division when they beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 Tuesday night. It was a pretty strong game all around, each player looked good and did their job, and the Jets are really impressive in the way they keep losing players, but don’t seem to miss a beat. This has been key to Winnipegs success and one of the main reasons they have points in their last 7 contests (5-0-2). The biggest star of Tuesdays win was Adam Lowry, the rookie doubled his goal total from 2 to 4 with a 2 goal performance against Dallas. Though neither of Lowrys two were masterpieces, that is not this players style, and it was good to see him rewarded for the hard work he shows nearly every game. The young Canadian is a huge asset in the forecheck game, he is great in his own zone, and he provides a strong net presence which is an element this team is sometimes lacking. With a little more experience and some physical growth, Adam Lowry shows the potential to be one of the best 3rd line two line players in the league.

Keys to the Game

Discipline: The Jets have been one of the most penalized teams this year, and early on it was okay as their penalty kill was covering up for a possible lack of discipline. At this point however, they are being burned more and more by their play man down. The Jets cannot afford to give up extra goals, and in this game cannot give the very skilled Colorado offense any extra chances or you may pay. Especially with the emotion at the end of the last game, there could be a lot of opportunity to lose your temper a little bit, for the Jets the message is clear, stay out of the box.

Back to Pavlec: It appears the Jets will continue ping ponging their goaltenders Thursday night, Pavelec has raised his play this season and has shut the door when the Jets need him to. It may be the reported weight loss of the offseason, or the push of a really strong back up goaltender. Whatever it is the Jets are thankful they have two goalies that can make saves and get wins, and they’ll need another big performance from Pavs Thursday.

Keep Colorado to the outside: Though they have had their struggles the Colorado Avalanche still possess one of the most lethal offenses in the league. The Jets need to be able to keep the Colorado opportunities to the outside if they want to leave with a W.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (9-8-3) GAA: 2.30 SV% .915
Calvin Pickard (3-5-0) GAA: 2.30 SV% .929

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
Varlamov, COL, (Groin) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

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

Prediction

Jets continue their success on the road
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!