It’s as simple as this. A good team (Dallas Stars) is playing a below average team (Winnipeg Jets) at the MTS Centre on Tuesday night. The Stars are currently second in the Central Division just one point back of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets are last in the Central, 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild. The saddest part is the Wild aren’t in a playoff position. It’s been that kind of year.
Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com
The Jets offence lately has been as non-existent as humility in a Kanye West interview. With the exception of a 5-goal outburst in Tampa, a game the Jets still came out on the losing end, (stupid shootouts) the Jets have averaged less than two goals per game in 5 out of their last 6 contests.
Drew Stafford and Mathieu Perreault each have one goal in their last six games. Mark Schiefele has one goal in his last 16 games. Alexander Burmistrov has one goal in his last 17 games played. If Bryan Little still isn’t ready to go because of a neck injury suffered Thursday night, one wonders where will the goals come from. Against a high-powered Dallas team, that spells trouble.
The only possible change would be Adam Pardy sliding into the lineup to replace either Paul Postma or Ben Chiarot. Since Pardy is good on the penalty kill, it might be prudent to play him while have the struggling Chiarot view the game from the press box.
Toby Enstrom and Jacob Trouba have had their names mentioned in trade rumour so there is a chance this could be their final home game as members of the Winnipeg Jets. (Although I think they both stay put for now.)
Ondrej Pavelec will most likely get the start but Michael Hutchinson deserves the start. Hutch was decent Saturday night, stopping 29 out of 32 shots in the Jets 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. A .906 save percentage isn’t great but it’s infinitely better than the .808 save percentage Pavelec served up Thursday night in that gong show of a game in Tampa. Please Connor Hellebuyck, save us next year!
The one-two punch of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have torn up the NHL this season as they have combined for 61 goals between the two. Add in secondary scoring from the likes of Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp and you have a dangerous, exciting team to worry about.
Winnipeg native Cody Eakin has a chance to hit the 20-goal mark this year (he has 11 goals in 60 games) and he will want to put on a show in front of family and friends.
The Star blueline is looking for a bounce-back performance after a rough night at the office Saturday against Boston. The Bruins abused the Stars defence en route to a 7-3 rout of the Stars in Texas. What makes it more concerning for the Stars is that two nights earlier, the Stars surrendered 6 goals against the Arizona Coyotes. If there ever is a game for the Jets to find their scoring touch, this game might be it.
Neither Antti Niemi nor Kari Lehtonen are putting up great numbers. Both Dallas netminders have a .907 save percentage and have shown recent struggles. Niemi has played in 10 more games including the last two games against the Jets, both won by Dallas. So expect the former Blackhawk to get the call over the former Thrasher.
Game Day Prediction: The Stars have won the first three meetings this season and are shooting for first place. The Jets are hoping they can draft Auston Matthews. Stars win.
Obvious Prediction: Jets play-by-play man Dennis Beyak will mention the amount of “pizzas” former Jet and current Star Johnny Oduya served up during his time here at least once per period.
Not So Obvious Prediction: Andrew Ladd gets traded after the game. We’ll keep mentioning it until the trade deadline arrives on February 29.
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