Game #44 Vs. Carolina: Playoff Winds

Travis Hrubeniuk
April 18 2013 12:32PM

 
Carolina Hurricanes (17-23-2) At
Your Winnipeg Jets (22-19-2)
 
Last Meeting:
March 30th, Jets 1 - Canes 3
 
Broadcast:
TV: TSN Jets
Puck Drop: 7:00 (CT)
 

Preview

Another day, another dollar, and another vitally important game. If the script hasn’t been clear enough over the last week, I’ll repeat it once more as the Jets face what is another ‘must win game’. This time the lowly Carolina Hurricanes try to blow through the MTS Center to put a true damper on the Jets playoff hopes.

The Jets come into tonight’s game looking to balance fully their 5-game losing streak by completing a 5-game winning streak, and tonight they have their mark. The ‘Canes have gone 2-8-0 in their last ten and have completely slipped out of the playoff picture, setting up yet another game that comes across as extremely winnable. The problem? There seems to be a tendency for this Jets team to play “down” when facing weaker opponents as they generally seem to lack that killer instinct to finish people off (note Tuesday’s game against Tampa).

Being currently tied with the New York Rangers in points, a win tonight has the potential to move the Jets right back into the playoffs for the time being. The only thing they can do is put pressure on the teams ahead of them to win, and hope for the best on the out of town scoreboard.

By The Numbers

 

Hurricanes

Jets

5x5 GF/60

2.19 (18th)

2.28 (14th)

5x5 GA/60

2.59 (27th)

2.53 (24th)

Goals by Period

30 – 39 – 39

28 – 49 – 31

Fenwick (5x5 Close)

52.24 (11th)

50.38 (15th)

PDO

982

995

 

Home

Away

Home

Away

PP%

14.3% (26th)

16.2% (17th)

14.9% (24th)

11.5% (27th)

PK%

78.6% (26th)

77.5% (23rd)

85.0% (12th)

74.2% (28th)

Top Scorer

Eric Staal

21GP: 8-17-25

Eric Staal

21GP: 9-12-21

Andrew Ladd

21GP: 12-12-24

Andrew Ladd

 22GP: 6-11-17

Projected Lineups

Jets

Ladd - Little - Wheeler
Kane - Jokinen - Wellwood
Tangradi - Burmistrov - Santorelli
Thorburn - Wright - Gagnon
 
Clitsome - Byfuglien
Hainsey - Bogosian
Postma - Stuart
 
Pavelec
Montoya
 
The top line is back. With Andrew Ladd truly leading the way (8 points in the last 4 games), the Little Ladd with Wheels line is truly clicking on all cylinders, and continues to be a force this season. Not to be forgotten though, has been the play of Alex Burmistrov and the Jets “third” line. Coach Noel couldn’t help but boast about his young center after Tuesday night's game, and they truly deserve it. Burmi posted a +10 corsi rating against the Bolts, with Tangradi and Santorelli each finishing the game at +12. Sure, they have been getting beneficial zone start numbers, but they are taking advantage of it and really outplaying their opponents as of late.
 

Hurricanes

Semin - Staal - Tlusty
Dwyer - Staal - Ruutu
Larose - Nash - Blanchard??
Dwyer - ?? - Wallace??
 
Gleason - Faulk
Harrison - Corvo
McBain - Sangunetti
 
Ellis
Peters
 
The Hurricanes top line has been explosive this year. They are a combined +30 (I know, not a great stat), and have produced a vast majority of the team offense. The second line can produce offensively as well, but the loss of Jeff Skinner won’t do them any favors. That’s where the good things end. The Hurricanes lack depth on an extreme level, and this truly shows with their horrid goals against numbers. Good things they have locked Alex Semin up for $7 mil a year.
 

Coach’s Coaching

Jets

Oh Captain My Captain

Andrew Ladd is where everything starts and ends with this team. When (not if) he gets going tonight, following his lead out there will be important for a Jets victory.

Shut Down the Top Line

The Hurricanes top line quite literally means everything to them. Shut down that top line, or even limiting their opportunities, will almost certainly lead to victory.

Hurricanes

Match Power on Power

The lack of defensive depth on the Hurricanes means they have no choice but to match top lines as much as possible tonight. That means avoiding icing calls, and not extending shifts if it can be avoided. Do that, and they might have a chance at catching the Jets on an off night.

Focus on Defense

Things have not been pretty thus far in their own zone. Sure Cam Ward going down with a season ending injury did not help, but more defensive focus would be needed regardless if the ‘Canes want to win anymore games this year.

Games to Watch

Islanders @ Maple Leafs

The Leafs have another matchup that could benefit the Jets. They haven’t exactly been helpful this year, but hey, third time is a charm? A Jets win combined with a New York loss would pull the Jets within 1 point of the Islanders, with a huge matchup between the two teams coming up on Saturday.

Panthers @ Rangers

The Rangers, currently tied with the Jets in points, face the lowly Panthers tonight on their continuation along what is probably the easiest schedule I have ever seen. Miracles can happen right? Maybe the Panthers will pull something out of a magic hat tonight.

Washington @ Ottawa

This is the first of two times that these two match up. Both teams currently sit 4 points ahead of the Jets in the standings, so take your pick as to who you want to win. Just hope it doesn’t go into overtime. Personally, I am pulling for Sens, as a division title banner would look fabulous in the MTS rafters, and a third place seeding means a much easier first round matchup for the Jets.

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I write things, you read them. Then tend to yell at me for them. It's okay though, I'm from Winnipeg. I can take it. If you actually do like what I write, give me a twitter follow here (@thrubeniuk): https://twitter.com/thrubeniuk
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