JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ MONTREAL

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (8-5-2) at Montreal Canadiens (10-4-1) 6:30 p.m., Bell Centre, TV: TSN3  Radio:TSN 1290

Another all Canadian match up comes Tuesday night when the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens match up. In their history back in Winnipeg the Jets have not had a good time playing against Montreal, and in Montreal has been even worse. What is possibly the loudest building in the league has given the Jets a rough ride and they tend to shrink when the occasion is high in the Bell Centre. Montreal is quickly becoming a perennial contender in the East and it is getting harder and harder to go into Montreal and get a win. Jets and Canadiens tangle in Montreal, Lets Go!

Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have picked up this season just where they left off, at 21 points they are tied for second in the East. They are not content in second and proved that earlier today making a trade with the Dallas Stars to acquire Sergei Gonchar. In Gonchar Montreal gets a wealth of experience, and another guy who has scoring touch on the Blue line. The key to the success of Montreal however is standing just behind their blue line and is no secret. Carey Price, who took Team Canada to a gold medal at last years Olympics is once again trying to get a Canadian team to the top of the mountain. Price can single handedly steal games and against a team that’s struggling for goals he has the ability to be an absolute menace. Up front the Canadiens score by committee with all 4 lines able to put the puck in the net, there is no overwhelming star that will take the game in his hands every night, this is shared responsibility that seems to be working just fine for the Canadiens.

Jets

The Jets are going through one of their hottest stretches in franchise history, not only are they getting wins, but they are coming at expense of some of the leagues top teams. The tests get no easier as Winnipeg heads into the Bell Centre in Montreal and attempts to stretch their streak to 9 straight games earning at least a point. The biggest challenge for the Jets will be staying cool under the pressure of the atmosphere in Montreal. It has been a challenge that has eluded the Jets for years, but this may just be the Winnipeg team that is able to do it. This team has embraced a style of play that by their own accounts is a little ugly, but it is working and the Jets are earning points. This team has raised their level of play the last couple weeks and may need to raise it even more to earn two points in Montreal.

Keys to the Game

Size: The one knock on the Montreal Canadiens, and it has been for years is the lack of size. The Canadiens play with speed and agility and sacrifice size to do so. This may be the game that players like Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien need to take over, and use their size and strength to push the Canadiens around.

Secondary Scoring: The Jets bottom six forwards have been basically useless when it comes to goals for the Jets. The fourth line has had literally no goals, on the third line it’s not much better. Perrault has none, Lowry has 1 and Dustin Byfuglien has been way below expectations. For the third line especially this may be their game, Lowry and Byfuglien are big gguys that can use their size tonight, and Perrault had a beautiful winner in the shootout and may be ready to finally put the puck in the net, the Jets need it.

Special Teams: With a PP% at just 7.69% the Canadiens, like the Jets, have had their struggles with the man advantage. The team that can get a goal or two with the man advantage will get the win.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (7-4-2) GAA: 1.98 SV% .928
Carey Price (8-3-1) GAA: 2.78 SV% .912

Injuries

Bournival, MTL, (Shoulder) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 7-1-2
Canadiens: 6-3-1

Prediction

Jets continue their strong play, get another W
Jets 3 Canadiens 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!