JGD #6: Coming out of a Hurricane

Sometimes i’m of the Gene Principe spawn with puns, and I like to call myself the metaphorical genius, but sometimes the stars align and it works out perfectly.

The Winnipeg Jets will host the Carolina Hurricanes in a game that is much like fighting the opposing team’s actual given name. The beginning of the season for the Jets has been much like a natural disaster after a “calm before the storm” when they pummelled the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes. Even coach Paul Maurice is freaking out, stemming from telling CBC’s Jeff Hamilton that he could #?*!ing make him cry.

Sorry Paul, but it’s more like the fan base is starting to cry.

The Jets and Hurricanes are likely both chomping at the bit to play against another struggling team early in the NHL season. A jet going through a hurricane usually has some trouble and could even crash, while a hurricane can see itself taking down a jet while knowing the jet could still prevail. It’s really anybody’s guess. Who knew this would be such an intriguing metaphor…

After losing a hard fought game to the Flames, the Jets will be looking to come up with their first win since their season opener and breaking a four-game losing streak. The team wasn’t expected the dazzle opponents and compete for the Stanley Cup, but a 1-4 start is not exactly what was expected.

You hate to call game six of the season a must-win, but in hockey crazed cities like Winnipeg, it’s almost a sure bet that a “W” needs to be in the headlines starting tomorrow.

The Jets have won eight of 12 games against the Canes since moving to Winnipeg, and the club’s split the season series last year. 

LINEUPS

Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

JETS FORWARDS

  • Perreault-Scheifele-Wheeler
  • Ladd-Little-Byfuglien
  • Galiardi-Lowry-Frolik
  • Thorburn-Slater-Halischuk

The Jets have been shuffling their lines ever since Evander Kane was injured, and one may start to wonder whether Dustin Byfuglien may find himself on the blueline again soon. Perreault was moved to the wing, and Lowry was given centre duty where both performed considerably admirably. 

Blake Wheeler continues to be the pulse of this team and as long as he’s going, the Jets have a chance every night. It’s obvious the club is missing Evander Kane, and it’s becoming more of a realization, but Perreault moving to the wing gives the team some more flexibility.

Anthony Peluso comes out of the lineup in favour of Matt Halischuk. Halischuk had a great camp and should be hungry to make a difference in the game.  If the Jets can’t muscle out a “W”, then you can expect the blender to come out.

JETS DEFENCE

  • Stuart-Trouba
  • Bogosian-Enstrom
  • Postma-Clitsome

  • Ondrej Pavalec
  • Michael Hutchinsion

Here at the nation, we’ve already established our dislike for Adam Pardy’s playing time over Grant Clitsome. Andrew Halipchuk made note that Postma was a very solid scoring defenceman in junior and he still has some ability if given the chance to partner up with a better NHL d-man. Well, we got our wish today because Pardy is out and Clitsome is in.

Ondrej Pavalec is his normal self, posting a .906 save percentage matching his career totals. He simply needs to be better to keep the Jets’ head above water during a hurricane.

HURRICANES FORWARDS

  • Tlusty-Nash-Semin
  • Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
  • Terry-McClement-Boychuk
  • Murphy-Brown-Malone

It’s an ugly roster to look at on paper, and it’s worth noting that the winless Hurricanes have been without Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner, and will go without Nathan Gerbe tonight. The good news is that it appears Jeff Skinner will make his season debut, and Eric Staal isn’t far from returning.

Without the Staal brothers, the Hurricanes are the NHL’s weakest group down the middle (music to Oiler fans ears) and that doesn’t add up to success.

Chris Terry has been a prolific AHL scorer, and he’s finally getting a chance to add production at the NHL level. The 25-year-old was a 5th round pick in the 2007 draft, and he may be able to develop into a top-six forward. The injuries have been good to him and fellow 2007 draft pick Zach Boychuk.

It’s interesting to see that defenceman Ryan Murphy is playing on the fourth line forward group with Andrej Sekera coming back into the lineup. Keep an eye on that.

HURRICANES DEFENCE

  • Sekera-Faulk
  • Hainsey-Bellemore
  • Gleason-Harrison

  • Cam Ward
  • Anton Khudobin

Andrej Sekera will have his season debut to follow-up a very impressive first season in Carolina, and he’ll be doing it while being paired up with Justin Faulk. 

The Canes “D” group doesn’t have much dazzle after the first pairing, but they are filled with decent veteran stay-at-home defensemen, and NHL experience on the blueline is highly crucial.

While head coach Bill Peters stated that he wanted to have a bonafide starter throughout the season, he seems to be leaning toward shuffling his tenders. Cam Ward should go tonight, but his numbers are underwhelming once again and he is clearly being outplayed by Anton Khudobin.

PREDICTIONS

Game Day Prediction: The Jets pounce on the injury-riddled Hurricanes early and take a commanding lead after the first period until they slowly let the Hurricanes creep back into the game. It’s not enough and the Jets take this one by a final score of 5-3.

Obvious Prediction: Andrew Ladd snaps his scoreless streak by adding a goal and two assists, and the captain is back to lead his team to victory.

Not So Obvious Prediction: Chris Thorburn drops the gloves with Patrick Brown in a staged fight that results in nothing but a loud cheer in the MTS Centre, prompting everyone to realize that staged fights and “goons” are becoming irrelevant in the NHL.