At long last, we’ve arrived at this point. Not since 1996 have the Winnipeg Jets been this close to getting in the Playoffs. After a 15 year NHL hiatus, an up-and-moslty down first year back, and this truncated season that’s featured Divison leads, heart-breaking losing streaks, and Claude Noel 3 piece suits, today’s game against the New York Islanders will be the most sinifigant game of the season. It’s serious times. Win, and they’re just a point back of this Islanders squad, and at the very least, keep pace with the rest of the pack, while even potentially bringing themselves into a tie with Washington. Lose, and they run the very real risk of getting too far behind as the season draws to a close next weekend. It’s a serious game – shake off your hangover and get your yelling-at-the-TV-pants on. It’s Jets Game Day.
23-19-2 48 Points / 9th Eastern Conference
PP%: 13.4 – PK%: 79.5
S/A:28.9 – SA/G:29.4
- Ladd – Little – Wheeler
- Kane – Jokinen – Wellwood
- Tangradi – Burmistrov – Santorelli
- Wright – Gagnon – Thorburn
- Hainsey – Bogosian
- Clitsome – Byfuglien
- Stuart – Postma
Notes and Trash Talk…This is the 3rd matchup of the season between the teams. The series is tied 1-1, with both teams winning at home. Let’s hope the trend continues…I drank (mostly) after my show tonight, and it’s not that I forgot that I had to write this, so much as I didn’t fully comprehend how much of a task this would be to write at 4:00am after a long night of enjoying what turned out to be an excessive intake of alcohol. If nothing else, I hope the Jets can draw inspiration from my work…As it stands now, the Jets would own the tiebraker with the Islanders, having 1 more ROW (not a boating term). All the more reason to kick some ass today…I incorrectly predicted Jacob Trouba would make his NHL debut against Carolina on Thursday. I feel great shame…Andrew Ladd continues his breakout offensive season, leading the team with 44 points in 44 games, while James Wright and Chris Thorburn have combined for a measly 5 points in 72 games.
New York Islanders
23-16-5 – 44 Points / 7th Eastern Conference
PP%: 21.5 – PK%: 80.4
S/G: 30.9 – SA/G: 28.2
- Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
- Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo
- Grabner – Aucoin – McDonald
- Joensuu – Cizikas – Martin
- Hickey – Visnovsky
- Hamonic – MacDonald
- Streit – Strait
Notes and Trash Talk…I’m really having trouble coming to terms with the fact that the Islanders are good. Their dynasty in the early 80’s was before my time. Outside of Pat LaFontaine, I can’t remember much about the Islanders that wasn’t hilariously inept…I wonder if Al Montoya looks at Garth Snow and thinks "You know, maybe I’ll just GM the Jets next year"…People have been going off about John Tavares this year, but did you know he only has 1 more point this season than Andrew Ladd? And 2 less Cups…Hey gang, do me a favor. My buddy Casey, who is not from New York, is a massive Islanders fan. Always has been. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I think he’s nuts. Anyways, I got a plan. If (If? No, when!) the Jets get a lead, find him on Twitter and throw down some serious trash talk about how bad the Isles blow. He’s also a funny Comic, so you should get a a good response from him. Or not – truthfully I’m not sure how he’ll react, but the fun isn’t in thinking about things, it’s in doing them. Find him at @caseycorbin and let loose!
Gametime is 2:00pm WInnipeg time, or Noon here where I am in Mackenzie, BC. No, I never heard of it before, either. You can watch the game on TSN Jets, or stream it
on some shady webs live from the official radio network of your Winnipeg Jets, TSN 1290. I haven’t checked any Gambling sites, but I imagine the Jets are favored to win by 5.
5 Predictions YOU – but not you – can count on.
- Dennis Beyak will use the term "Playoff Atmosphere" rather liberally.
- Big Game Candidate? Evander Kane. I just feel it. That or it’s gout.
- I will have trouble waking up in time for puck drop.
- John Tavares will do some ridicuously sick move that pisses me off.
- Rick DiPietro will make more money watching the game than I will.
Wrapping it up.
It’s the Real Deal now. These last 4 games of the season will determine whether we’re enjoying hockey into May, if not June, or if we have to start crossing our fingers that a player like Hunter Shinkaruk slides down to where the Jets would be drafting. I know what all of us in JetsNation would prefer. Today, we get to find out just how ‘for real’ our Jets are.