Game #41 Vs Buffalo: Last chances

Kevin McCartney
April 09 2013 05:43PM


Buffalo Sabers (16-17-6) At

Your Winnipeg Jets (19-19-2)

Last Meeting: February 19th, Jets 2 – Sabres 1

Broadcast: TSN Jets

Puck Drop: 7:00 (CT)

Preview

Buffalo is the only team in the Eastern Conference with a losing record against the Southeast Division. On top of it, they shipped out Pominville, Leopold, and Regehr since the last time the Jets played them, a 2-1 win back in the heady days of February. Still, the Jets at 3-7 in the last ten, and the Sabres have won 3 straight – apparently galvanized by their underdog status. The Jets are favoured to win, but have a meaningfully worse goal differential and are one of only ten teams in the league with fewer than 100 goals for – and a leader (along with Nashville) among that ignominious third for games played. Somehow, some way as we hold our breath for another puck drop.

The Jets recent skid has lost them the Division lead, but they have some good news. Carolina is 1-9-0 in their last ten, falling entirely out of the playoff picture. Washington has taken the Southeast crown for now, but are only 2 points up, the same standings lead the current 7th and 8th place New York teams have on the Jets. Buffalo sits 2 points back of the Jets (4 points back of the Islanders and Rangers, then) with a game in hand on Winnipeg. Suffice to say, this is at once a playoff-struggle and a deciding matchup in who gets 7th overall pick this year. Another weird finish. Sure glad we have Mike Santorelli.

The primary advantage the Jets hold is their shot advantage numbers. The Jets play considerably more time in opposition territory as the Sabres have the worst Fenwick Close numbers in the league. It doesn’t get better when the games aren’t close, either. Maybe we can generate a little hope with a visibly dominating performance – a game played in Buffalo’s end.

By the Numbers

 

Sabres

Jets

5x5 GF/60

2.5 (T-10th)

2.3 (T-16th)

5x5 GA/60

2.5 (T-17th)

2.7 (T-21st)

Goals by Period

27 – 34 – 38

24 – 41 – 29

Goals Against by Period

27 – 44 – 41

39 – 32 – 47

Fenwick (5x5 Close)

43.4% (30th)

49.9% (17th)

 

Home

Away

Home

Away

PP%

13.2% (27th)

11.1% (27th)

13.8% (26th)

11.5% (25th)

PK%

76.3% (28th)

78.5% (18th)

83.3% (T-16th)

74.2% (28th)

Top Scorer

Thomas Vanek

12GP 8-7-15

Thomas Vanek

17GP 8-10-18

Andrew Ladd

18GP 8-9-17

Andrew Ladd

22GP 6-11-17

Coach's Coaching

Jets

Win the first period

The Jets have not been good in 1st periods. A -15 goal differential not good. But the Sabres are 1-8-1 when trailing after the 1st. That’s partly about just being bad and never guarantees such success for the Jets, but as the Sabres struggle with sustained pressure, it may be our ticket.

Don’t have awful special teams

The Jets had their first practice in weeks yesterday – a full 55 minutes. Since their PP and PK are in the bottom 5 of the league, let’s hope they found some time to completely re-imagine and re-work both of their special teams. That takes an hour, right?

Sabres

Neutralize the top line

The Jets don’t have a lot of scoring depth. Shocking news at this point, I realize. In the last 10 games, the top line has struggled to score and the result has been a lot of losses. Ladd-Little-Wheeler combined for 13 points over the last ten games. Sadly, Wheeler and Little only had points in 2 of those games – both wins – and the team went 1-7-0 in the games in which they were held pointless. Seems like an easy game plan.

Also don’t have awful special teams

Who’d have thought this – two teams with bottom 5 PKs and bottom 5 PPs struggling to win games? Buffalo has put up three straight wins without a powerplay goal. Miller has had a .948 save% in those three games. Eventually that streak will end unless they can find some sort of success on the offensive side of the puck.

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Kevin is a regular contributor to Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart
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