April 11 2013 11:11AM
The Homestand from the Heavens continues tonight, with yet another big game for your Winnipeg Jets. After coming off the worst stretch of hockey pretty much imaginable, the Jets have come home and taken advantage of the schedule which, thanks be to the Universe, has brought to Winnipeg some of the biggest patsies in the Leaue. And tonight is no different, as the lowly Florida Panthers visit the MTS Centre.
Actually, the Florida Panthers are diffirent. For a team that sits last place in the NHL, they've sure had their share of success against the Jets this year. The season series is even at 2 wins apiece, but that doesn't tell the story, as both Jets wins came in Overtime, while the Panthers outscored the Jets 10-4 in their 2 wins. So this game is no gimme.
But it should be. Sure, the Jets hit rock bottom after those back-to-back losses to Washington. And yes, they fell apart and bumbled all the way down the Standings to where they currently sit - which just happens to be not out of it all. It seems to me that this Team is begining to wake up, and why shouldn't it? They've been gift wrapped a schedule that sees the bottom 5 teams in the East visit, as well as a team - the New York Islanders - that they'll either be chasing, or trying to make distance from. And they've taken advantage of it so far, with matching 4-1 wins over Buffalo and Philadelphia. I fully expect the wins to continue tonight.
But maybe the best thing about the Jets / Panthers game is this is the only matchup that can happen in both the NHL and NFL. Pretty fun, and not likely to change until Toronto gets their 2nd team and ill-advisedly names them the Redskins. Time now to take a closer look at Game:
20-19-2 - 42 Points / 2nd Southeast Division / 9th Eastern Conference
PP%: 12.5 / PK%: 78.9
S/G: 28.5 SA/G: 29.6
Last 10: 4-6-0
- Ladd - Little - Wheeler
- Kane - Jokinen - Wellwood
- Tangradi - Burmistrov - Santorelli
- Wright - Gagnon - Thorburn
- Clitsome - Byfuglien
- Hainsey - Bogosian
- Stuart - Postma
Notes and Trash Talk...For the scoreboard watchers out there, the 7th place Islanders, only 2 points up on the Jets, are in Boston to face
Jarome Iginla Jaromir Jagr and the Bruins, while 6th place Ottawa - just 4 points up on Winnipeg - is in Philadelphia. Washington hosts Carolina. Sigh...From the 'That's not why he's paid the Big Bucks' file, Evander Kane leads the Jets with 76 PIM...Big game Candidate? Go with Mr. Kane. It's been awhile since he'd dominated a game. With nothing other than cocksure bravado to base this on, I'm confident he'll have a big game...Tobias Enstrom is out again, 2-Goal-Postma draws in... The Barrie Colts are into the Eastern Conference Final of the OHL playoffs, and Mark Scheifele leads the way wth 15 points in 8 games. He sits 2nd in League playoff scoring behind only Vincent Trochek, the US Junior team star and Florida Panthers 3rd round pick in 2011...Based only partially on the suckage of Mark Sanchez, the Winnipeg Jets are clearly Pro Sports best "Jets" team.
13-20-6 - 32 points / 5th Southeast Division / 15th Eastern Conference
PP%: 21.7 / PK%: 74.4
S/G: 29.8 SA/G: 31.5 / FO%: 49.7
Last 10: 6-4-0
- Huberdeau - Matthias - Mueller
- Fleischmann - Goc - Kopecky
- Upshall - Bjugstad - Skille
- Parros - Shore - Howden
- Campbell - Strachan
- Kuba - Kulikov
- Brennan - Gudbranson
Notes and trash talk...Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau leads both the Panthers and all NHL Rookies in scoring with 27 points in 39 games, while Tomas Kopecky leads the way with 15 goals...The Panthers almost have as many injuries as victories. They're currently missing Jose Theodore, Stephen Weiss, Ed Jovanovski, Kris Versteeg, Mike Weaver and Michael Caruso with long term injuries, while Drew Shore (who?) is probable for tonights game...How a Hockey team has survived in Sunrise, Florida, for this long is beyond me...Nick Bjugstad made his NHL debut for the Panthers last week against Washington. The 19th overall pick in the 2010 draft is a monster at 6'6, 220 pounds and has 0 points on 2 games so far. He is, however, in the Top 10 in league last name misspellings...The Panthers have sucked for so long it's hard to believe they went to the Stanley Cup all those years ago. Best Panthers pro sport team? Carolina by a mile. I'll take Cam Newton over Brian Campbell any day.
Things you need to know.
The game time is 7:00pm in Winnipeg, or 3:00am Friday morning for any Jets fans researching the Arctic on Marion Island, South Afirca. You can watch the game on your Televsion on TSN Jets, or listen to it Online here. According the one gambling site I checked, the Jets are favored to win. I could have told you that without checking, though.
5 Unscoffable Predictions :
- I'll swear, repeatedly, at the TV if Jacob Trouba doesn't dress.
- Olli Jokinen, upon seeing the Panthers Logo, remembers he was at one time awesome, and gets 4 points.
- Mike Sanotrelli will personally thank Dale Tallon for waiving him and allowing him to become a Jet.
- Grant Clitsome willl continue his out-of-the-blue rock steadiness.
- All JetsNation becomes diehard Hurricanes fan for the night, as Carolina battles those stinkin' Capitals.
The Jets find themselves with a great chance to rack up the Victories against the real light weights of the Conference as the Season winds down - and all at the MTS Centre, no less. It's a gift of an opportunity that they can't, and haven't, blown to date. If they can run the Table on this homestand, which is a rather believable possibility, the Jets could very well find themselves in Washington for Game 47 with a real chance to maybe, just maybe, get that Division lead back, and, at the very least, place themselves somewhere firmly in the Top 8 along the way. But first things first - they gotta crush the Panthers of Sunrise tonight. Enjoy the game!