The Winnipeg Jets are on the road for eight of the next nine games starting tonight in Columbus as they take on the Blue Jackets.
You hate to just “assume” that a win is more thank likely, but with the Jackets starting off the season a dreadful 2-9-0 and having just played last night in a loss to the Washington Capitals, this is exactly the kind of game the Jets should fully expect to take control of. Right? Correct?!
* Insert Admiral Ackbar “It’s A Trap” meme here*
The big news in Columbus ten days ago was the firing of (now former) head coach Todd Richards after an 0-7-0 start, and the hiring of (former Lightning, Rangers and Canucks) head coach John Tortorella. The Jackets have since played .500 hockey under Torts and have gotten back to playing better defensively having only given up nine goals in the last four games (2.25 goals against per game) compared to the 30 goals given up in the first seven games(4.29 goals against).
The Jackets are still having issues finding their offense however. Only four other teams are scoring fewer goals per game so far this season and Nick Foligno – who was last season’s leading scorer for Columbus – is off to a bit of a slow start personally with just one goal and five points in 11 games played.
That said, Columbus looked very good against Washington on Friday night and if not for a couple of mistakes made on defense and the play of Braden Holtby for the Caps, we could have easily been seeing the Jackets going for their fourth win in a row tonight instead of third win in four games.
As for your Jets, offense – save for one game against LA – wasn’t much of an issue at all as they went 3-2-1 in this most recent home stand. Blake Wheeler has points tallied in all but one game this season, Bryan Little has had multiple points in four of his ten games played and the Jets overall have seven players who have seven or more points to start the season.
The Jets and Jackets played 17 games against each other last season…
Just kidding. They played twice (both Jets wins) with the last meeting in Winnipeg back on January 21st and it didn’t go well at all for ‘Lumbus not only losing 4-0, but also losing goalie Sergei Bobrovsky due to injury.
(Fun fact: That game was the last time Evander Kane scored a goal in a Jets jersey! This has nothing to do with anything)
Lineups courtesy of Daily Faceoff
WINNIPEG JETS (6-3-1)
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it right? With seven players having seven or more points in the first ten games played, why mess with a good thing right? Hutch was stellar versus the Blakhawks two nights ago, so it’s likely Pavs gets the start.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (2-9-0)
Nothing was confirmed as of publish time, but “Officer Bob” stopped 26 of 28 Capitals shots last night so expect Curtis McEhlhinney to get the start in goal tonight. The Jackets on paper should not be off to the slow start they are on offense. Brandon Sadd isn’t in this lineup card as he missed the game in DC with illness, but looks to be “probable” for tonight.
Game Day Prediction: A couple of days ago we were saying the Jets had only one win in their last four and now with a win tonight we can say they’ve gained points in four of their last five games which sounds much more positive doesn’t it? Hockey is a funny sport. Anyway, Jets win 3-1.
Obvious Prediction: The Blue Jackets are tied for the worst penalty kill so far this season with just 71.4% The Jets meanwhile are sitting pretty with the 8th best power play (24.1) in the NHL. Seems kind of obvious the power play will get at least one tonight.
Not So Obvious Prediction:
It’s Halloween so every other crowd shot of tonight’s game will featured costumed fans and there will be at least four “Donald Trump”s in attendance.