The Winnipeg Jets returned from the Christmas break on a somewhat good note as they defeated the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-3 in overtime. Tonight, the Jets and Wild will conclude a home-and-home series at the MTS Centre for the third of five meetings this season.
It was not a pretty game by any means as it was a pretty sloppy affair – granted, the two clubs were coming off a Turkey Hangover. We hope you readers had a good Christmas / Holiday and enjoyed watching the Jets win. It’s always nice no matter what to kick off the second half with a win!
On Saturday, Andrew Ladd scored the game winning goal for the Jets in overtime – a goal that the Wild would like to have back. Ladd shot the puck from inside the slot, but would miss the net only to have it bounce off the backboards and off of John Curry and into the net. It’s a fluky goal and it’s one I’m sure the Wild would like to soon forget.
So yeah, it was one of those games. I blame the Turkeys.
But even though the Wild walked away with one point, it’s better than two. The Jets can’t pay that sloppy tonight and should aim to win the game in regulation and keep any available points away from the Wild.
Winnipeg currently has a nine-point lead over Minnesota in the Western Conference and sit in a Wild Card spot. But the Wild have three games in hand, so winning as many games as possible and not giving any points away to the Wild will be in the Jets best interest.
The two teams will meet for two more games after tonight’s tilt, so the Jets should put the Wild in the rear view mirror – and that starts with another win tonight, but in regulation.
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Kane will likely be sidelined tonight with a lower-body injury, as he blocked a shot with his foot on Saturday. He seemed to be in some pain. But he did play through it and would finish the game. On Sunday, he missed practice and the Jets recalled forward Patrice Cormier from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
Mathieu Perreault also missed practice but head coach Paul Maurice told media that Perreault will play against the Wild.
Perreaul has been hot as of late but failed to score a point on Saturday, snapping his eight game point-streak. Kevin McCartney mentioned in the last game preview that Perreault’s success has helped linemate Mark Scheifele, who has scored 9 points in his last 7 games.
Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler lead in the points column with 27 and 26 respectively.
I have been pretty impressed with the Jets top-four, considering that they are missing most of the core defence due to injuries. If the Jets can keep scoring and continue the solid defense, even though they’re missing a good chunk of players, they will find themselves in the playoffs.
- Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
- Nino Niederreiter – Mikko Koivu – Charlie Coyle
- Matt Cooke – Erik Haula – Thomas Vanek
- Ryan Carter – Kyle Brodziak – Justin Fontaine
The Wild currently sit 11th in the NHL in the Goals For department with 2.85 per game and don’t have an issue putting the puck in the net. But they do have a hard time keeping it out of their own as they rank 22nd in the league in Goals Against per game with 2.79.
- Ryan Suter – Jonas Brodin
- Marco Scandella – Jarred Spurgeon
- Justin Falk – Stu Bickel
- Darcy Kuemper
- Niklas Backstrom
Game-Day Prediction: Saturday’s game against the Wild was not the prettiest, but they did get the win and Kane was good, quietly notching two primary assists. I was happy to see him on the scoresheet, because he wasn’t on it for two games. But if the Jets are without him tonight then that’s a step backwards for both him and the team. The Wild take this one 4-2.
Obvious Prediction: Ondrej Pavelec gets the start and isn’t the wall Hutchinson was on Saturday. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been on fire, going 9-2-3 in 14 games played this season. He carries a .939 save percentage and a 1.77 GAA. If he doesn’t start tonight, then I’ll understand since it’s a home-and-home and Paul Maurice likes to rotate goaltenders. But if I were calling the shots, I’d go with Hutchinson. No question about it.
Not-so-obvious Prediction: Paul Maurice has made it clear the Jets need to stop with all the pointless penalties. It’s cool if you’re going to be aggressive and all, but don’t over do it where you force a penalty and put your team in that situation where you are down a man for two-minutes or less. For example, during Saturday’s game, the Jets were penalized six times, giving up one goal. Tonight, every player to take a stick infraction starts his next shift without a stick.
As you all probably know by now, I am new to Jets Nation and I’m extremely excited to join the Nation Network, which has a ton of talented writers. I’m new to the Jets scene, so if I mess up with something, be nice! I look forward to the future and I can’t wait to see what will come next.