February 02 2014 07:51AM
Now that we've got that out of the way, onto the Jets game.
The Jets incredible roll since Paul Maurice's hiring keeps moving along, laughing in the face of critics who say the team is bound to regress sometime soon.
This argument against the Jets is getting harder and harder to justify, as the team has picked up wins over everybody from the bottom-feeding Flames and Oilers, to the middling Canucks, Coyotes, and Leafs, to the juggernaut Ducks and Blackhawks. Depth issues still remain, but Maurice has somehow managed to keep his defence productive while the team's arguably best defenceman, Dustin Byfuglien, spends time at forward with Jokinen and Setoguchi on the third line.
Montreal comes into this contest with some mighty struggles of their own, going 4-5-1 over their past ten games, and with many media pundits calling for the head of the supposedly offensively-stifling Michel Therrien.
The Jets, most importantly, do not have to overthink what's been happening lately. Sure, some of the games have been exciting for all the wrong reasons (poor defensive play/a goalie standing on their head), but Maurice has been able to effect a kind of change throughout line, making their previous depth problems seem like something that could be solved through scouting and coaching.
The Canadiens aren't division or even conference rivals, but the Jets can't really afford to lose any more games if they can help it. Considering how tight of a race it will be to grab those last two Wild Card spots in the West, Winnipeg needs to treat every game like a game seven from here on in.
- Ladd - Little - Frolik
- Thorburn - Scheifele - Wheeler
- Setoguchi - Jokinen - Byfgulien
- Tangradi - Wright - Peluso
Maurice will keep rolling the same top nine until they give him a reason not to.
Setoguchi played very well against the Canucks, scoring two goals including the game winner after looking lost on his off-wing for the past few weeks.
Eric Tangradi finally got out of the pressbox in Eric O'Dell's place, but the young winger was barely noticeable all game - though that may be due to the fact that he's been sitting during games for what seems like months and months.
- Bogosian - Enstrom
- Stuart - Trouba
- Pardy - Ellerby
Pavelec will likely see the start here again, as an interesting graphic that came up on the TSN Jets-'Nucks broadcast showed that Paul Maurice usually likes to ride his No. 1 goaltenders as long as he can. Pavelec is not having a great year, but the Jets are winning, so you can imagine how hard and somewhat nonsensical it would be put in the back-up when the wins are piling up.
- Pacioretty - Desharnais - Gallagher
- Moen - Plekanec - Gionta
- Bourque - Eller - Thomas
- Prust - Briere - Parros
This is as a confused of a line-up as you'll see right now.
Therrien has been the brunt of a lot of rage lately over his team's performances, with many claiming that while Therrien had slightly improved upon their regular season performance initially, his style has become too constricting for a team still trying to figure out it's identity.
- Gorges - Subban
- Markov - Emelin
- Beaulieu - Murray
This is a very good top four corps for the Habs, but they've struggled quite a bit as of late. Therrien's tactics seem to be geared towards getting the puck into safe places rather than risking open-ice passes, but such a mentality slows the game down quite a bit and makes it predictable even though his skilled rosters are capable of such plays.
The Jets should be able to prey upon another struggling team at the Bell Centre this morning. The Jets are doing a great job of not over-thinking things, and they would do well to continue the trend in Montreal.