Be honest, October 27th was special, fun, intriguing, a train wreck. It was great drama, a spectacle to be sure. It was not a well played hockey game and guaranteed not to happen again anytime soon. See, coaches are united by one common thread; they want to win 1-0. Sure there is the odd guy here and there who is opposed to defensive hockey but even they quietly deploy the trap protecting third period leads. Why? Because it works. NHL players are bigger, faster, stronger…the NHL rink is the same size it’s been since the Garden and the Aud went down. Take away time and space and you crush offense; it’s that easy.
I do expect to see a very fast paced and physical game today though as both these teams like to scoot. There will be a fair share of offense and will likely be every bit as enjoyable to watch any game that is played tonight. All signs lead to Pavelec starting his 12th straight game but as of this moment, no official word from anyone. I would also expect Ilya Bryzgalov to start today as well and hear nothing but boo’s and his name chanted over and over by the Winnipeg faithful. Winnipegger’s like all Canadians tend to get their back up when someone says anything negative about good old hometown. Mr Bryzgalov has already apologized but it will have little to no effect. Grab the cotton balls… Philly could go with Sergei Bobrovsky but he looked even worse last game.
Great news earlier today as Eric Fehr has been activated from injured reserve. All told he has missed 19 games so far this year and again, no word on whether he will play today. Usually when a player is activated he is ready to go so odds are he will be playing today. Expectations should be moderate for a player that hasn’t seen a minute of action since having surgery last season. For the record, Fehr managed 10 goals in 52 games last year in a reduced role. Once he is clicking on all cylinders, Fehr should be a top 6 option at least for coach Claude Noel.
I love that Mullet…
The Jets also catch a break today, as Jaromir Jagr will be out with a sore groin suffered against the Coyotes. Jagr has been excellent on the top line with Claude Giroux and given Philly more than they hoped when he signed. Despite not having all hands on deck, Philly is still dangerous on the road and boast one of the best road records in the East with a 6-1-1 record. Buffalo is 7-2-0 and it’s no secret why those two teams lead the East.
Don’t look now but Evander Kane is the hottest Jets and is on one of those runs I predicted on Nation Radio a few weeks ago. He is the only true sniper on this team and when he gets hot, the Jets need to capitalize. Scott Taylor mentioned the tension between Noel and Kane in his article yesterday. I don’t see that going away anytime soon. Tell me, he usually wins those battles? Consider also that the leadership core of this team has already had one closed door meeting with the coach to air out their beefs. I respect hard nosed coached but tread lightly Mr. Noel, you could lose this room very easily.
Game time is 2.00 CST and can be seen nationally on Hockey Night In Canada.