When the schedule came out last summer, I admit I circled this date. The last home game of the season against a division rival and a team the Jets may be in the middle of a dog fight with for playoff positioning or at worst a playoff spot on the line? Seemed like it could have been a very intriguing game back in August.
Instead the Jets are playing out the string waiting for the sweet merciful end of the season, the Wild are mostly comfortable in that final wild card spot and can’t get any higher, and Jets fans would just as soon let the Wild get one more step closer to clinching that playoff spot than see the Jets pick up two more points.
Courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com
The Jets haven’t won in four games but ’tis not the fault of the top line as Wheeler has a seven game point streak and Scheifele has a six game streak. Ehlers was reunited with his linemates one game after being demoted in favor of Drew Stafford – tank or no tank, let’s all agree that we’d rather not see that move again. You may also be hoping to see Brandon Tanev tonight.. But keep hoping as he likely won’t make his debut until they hit California.
If you’re looking for reasons to cheer the Jets on, Paul Postma getting another point to tie Mark Stuart in team scoring with three points in 38 fewer games played is a pretty worthwhile cause to get behind.
The Jets have taken turns over the last five games in their goalie rotation of Pavs and Hutch. Since Pavs was the man on Friday, expect to see Hutch in goal tonight possibly robbing Jets fans a chance to see Pavs in his final home game as a Jet.
(Ha, I’m just kidding.. We all know he’ll return next season. *sigh*)
Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu are the offensive dynamos of this otherwise bland group of forwards who aren’t long on talent but can grind out games especially when they have the lead. The Wild are 24-1-1 when they lead after 2 periods. (A mark that is good for 7th in the league this year)
Jared Spurgeon will be a game day decision for the Wild but otherwise Nate Prosser would draw in if Spurgeon can’t go.
Dubnyk has started the last 11 games and with a playoff spot still on the line, there is no reason not to expect him to start his 12th tonight. The Wild workhorse has a 32-24-6 record and a .919 save percentage.
Game Prediction: The Wild only have a slight bit more motivation to play this game as a win tonight coupled with an Avalanche loss clinches the final spot. They’ve lost two in a row and would likely not like to leave things to chance… They step their game up and take a 4-1 win.
Obvious Prediction: The Jets top line will continue to dazzle and be the lone reason it’s still good to watch these games.
Not So Obvious Prediction: Dustin Byfuglien leaves the game early so that he can catch a flight to Dallas and do a run-in on the Brock Lesnar / Dean Ambrose Wrestlemania match as Buff stakes his rightly claim as “The Real Beast.”