JGD #22: Singin’ the Blues?

Winnipeg wraps up their
three-game home stand this afternoon, when they welcome the St. Louis Blues to
the MTS Centre.

The Jets are looking to get
into the win column after dropping a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on
Thursday night. Winnipeg has had a strong November, posting a 6-3-2 record.

St. Louis (13-6-1, 2nd
Central Division) comes into today’s game four points ahead of the Jets with
one game in hand. The Blues are 3-2-0 in their last five games and are coming
off of 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, Saturday afternoon.

Tonight’s game kicks off a
five-game season series for the Blues and Winnipeg. Last season the Jets won
just one game against their division rival last season and lost three of the
other four games in regulation.

LINES

Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

Jets Forwards

   Ladd-Little-Wheeler

   Kane-Perreault-Byfuglien

   Lowry-Scheifele-Frolik

   Thorburn-Slater-Halischuk

 

The line shuffling of Coach
Maurice has seemed to have work for the Jets in their first two games. The team
is averaging three goals a game after averaging just 1.89 goals per game in
their first 19 games this season.

So far the third line of Adam
Lowry, Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik have found the most success in their
first two games together, racking up a combined seven points, (3g, 4a). This
line has to have another big game if the Jets are going to have a chance at
victory.

The Jets top line on the other
hand, has been held pointless in the past two games. Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd
and Bryan Little have had success before for the Jets, and I have little reason
to doubt that they will find it again. The only question is when.

Jets Defence

   Enstrom-Bogosian

   Stuart-Trouba

   Pardy-Postma

 

   Pavelec

   Hutchinson

 

The Jets defence remains intact
for the fourth straight game. (Where’s Grant Clitsome?) Pardy has played well,
but I really enjoyed the pairing of Clitsome and Paul Postma, it’ll be nice to
get them back together as soon as possible.

With St. Louis’ depth at
forward, all three pairings will have to be at their best in this afternoon’s
game. But the pairing of Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba will probably see the
most ice-time because their size is going to be needed against the big Blues
forwards.

Blues Forwards

   Steen-Stastny-Oshie

   Schwartz-Lehtera-Tarasenko

   Berglund-Backes-Paajarvi

   Ott-Lapierre-Reaves

 

Wow St. Louis has built their
team right, be it through the draft (T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Jayden Schwartz
and Patrick Berglund), through trades (Alex Steen, Steve Ott and Magnus
Paajarvi), or through free agency (Paul Stastny and Max Lapierre). They have acquired
the right players for the rights roles in the game of hockey.

In my opinion there is no
forward group that fills each aspect of the game of hockey as well as the St.
Louis Blues do.

One forward worth noting is
Vladimir Tarasenko who is having a breakout season this year. The young forward
has been on every highlight package for the Blues this month, and his 12 goals
and 11 assists back up the hype this kid brings. He has the skill set to do
some heavy damage against the Jets today.

Blues Defence

   Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo

   Gunnarsson-Shattenkirk

   Jackman-Cole

 

   Allen

   Elliott

 

Jake Allen gets the start this
afternoon after the Blues played yesterday in Ottawa. The young netminder is a
good choice for St Louis because of his 2-1-0 record and 1.67 GAA on the road
this season.

St Louis defenceman Barret
Jackman will be playing his 744th game with the Blues today. The
former Calder Trophy winner will tie Brett Hull for third in games played for
St. Louis, and trails just Bernie Federko (927) and Brian Sutter (779) on the
all-time list.

Jay Bouwmeester’s current NHL
“Iron Man” streak of 737 consecutive games is up in the air this afternoon. The
Edmonton-native left yesterday’s game late in the third period against Ottawa
and is questionable for today’s game.

PREDICTIONS

Game Day Prediction: I think the Jets can have a strong game against the Blues, but
St. Louis is just too strong of a team. Winnipeg does earn a point in a
hard-fought loss. Blues win 4-3 in overtime.

Obvious Prediction: T.J. Oshie, breaks out of his scoring slump and adds a goal
and an assist for the Blues. The Everett native has been held pointless in
three straight games and I expect a strong game from the right winger.

Not So Obvious Prediction: Paul Maurice takes a page
out of Ken Hitchcock’s book and inspires Winnipeg to outhit the much more
physical Blues.