JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ PHILADELPHIA

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (26-15-8) at Philadelphia Flyers (20-22-7) 6:00 p.m., Wells Fargo Center,
TV: TSN3 Radio: TSN 1290
Coming off their first loss in 6 games the Jets get right back to it, and in the State. Winnipeg finished their two game Pennsylvania tour Thursday night with a date against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers earned an overtime win in the teams first meeting this season at the MTS Centre and will try to make it a sweep in front of their home crowd. The Flyers have had their struggles this season, but still own one of the most lethal offenses in then league and are currently riding a two game win streak. The Jets meanwhile lost some of their lead on the chasing teams and will try to re-establish their firm grasp on the playoffs. It all goes down Thursday night in Philly, Lets Go!

Flyers

Making sense of the Philadelphia Flyers this season is near impossible. How is it that you can have two of the top 5 scorers in the NHL and still be way outside the playoff picture. The Flyers are an anomaly this season but it also makes them very dangerous. You cannot go into a game with Philly and expect them to play like a team 2 games under .500 and 10 points away from a playoff spot. The Flyers struggles are obviously on the back end. They have been unable to commit to a starting goalie, and not because the two have been battling. Neither Philly goaltender has been able to give the Flyers a consistent effort back there and many games for Philadelphia this season have turned into track meets. The Flyers have won 3 of their last 4 and in the past have posed huge problems for the Winnipeg Jets, they hope to do it again at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday night.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets lost their first game in 6 tries Tuesday night. The talk around town was focused mainly on two very bad calls that both cost the Jets goals. At the end of the second period Kris Letang appeared to jump on the ice early and take possession of the puck on Steve Downie’s tying goal. The bench wanted too many men but it was no to be. The second call was a charging penalty on Adam Lowry. Simply put it was a terrible call and the Pens made it count scoring the eventual winning goal on that powerplay. Though the officiating is always an easy scape goat, and there is no doubt they made a difference, the Jets simply did not play well enough. They did not return from the All-Star break until the second period, and Ondrej Pavelec may have played his worst game of the year. The Jets had an opportunity with Malkin and Crosby out of the lineup, but they could not take advantage. Another day, brings another chance in the NHL however and the Jets get a shot at a sub .500 team in the Flyers. If they hope to win their defense needs to be far better, they gave up 5 goals to a team without their top two scorers, and now they face two of the top scorers in the NHL. The Jets will rely heavily on the back end. They need better from all 6 defensemen, especially the bottom 4, and they will need better from their goaltender. The Jets will look to get back on track against Philly before returning home for a Saturday night match up with the Dallas Stars.

Keys to the Game

Michael Hutchinson: The Jets did not get what they needed from Ondrej Pavelec Tuesday night so they will now turn to the exceptional rookie Michael Hutchinson.  At 10 games over .500 the youngster has put his claim in for the starting job and looks to have won it already. If he can continue the level of his play not only will the Jets win tonight, but they will have success all season.
Lowry, Kane, and Thorburn: the Jets got some unbelievable play from their third line Tuesday night. Getting in on all 3 of the Jets goals, this line had the most impact of any in the game. If they can continue this play it gives the Jets a legitimate 3 line threat and not many teams can defend against this kind of attack.
Giroux and Voracek: Two guys, 33 goals, 119 points. The two players who have led this team all year offensively have the ability to change any game. When these two get on the ice, especially together, there are few duos in the league better. The Flyers success goes as they do. If Giroux and Voracek can get going the Flyers have a chance to win, but if they are having an off night, the Flyers chances are probably dead in the water.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (14-4-2) GAA: 1.90 SV% .935
Steve Mason (9-12-6) GAA: 2.41 SV% .921

Injuries

Stuart, WPG, (LBI) out
Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season

Raffl, PHI, (Illness) day-to-day
Laughton, PHI, (UBI) out
Coburn, PHI, (LBI) out
Grossman, PHI, (UBI) out
Timonen, PHI, (Blood clot) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-3-1
Flyers: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets get back on track with win in Philly
Jets 5 Flyers 3

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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!