A Look Ahead: The Schedule Eases Up (and It Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time)

How quickly can we rinse the taste of this past weekend out of our mouths? After a beatdown in Calgary on Saturday, the Jets dropped another one in Edmonton on another game-winning-(losing?)-own-goal by a young star. During a season of excitingly high highs and depressingly low lows, the hometown squad found yet another way to lose. Thankfully, the schedule eases up here for the rest of the month and maybe they can regroup, get healthy, and turn this ship around in the new year.

After playing (an NHL record) 32 games in 60 days, the Jets will finish the calendar year playing 7 times in the remaining 20 days of 2016. That stretch  kicks of with a light week, featuring the first two whole day break the Jets have seen since October 21st. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for the Jets this week.

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Thursday, December 15th vs Florida Panthers, MTS Centre, 7pm (TSN3, TSN1290)

The Florida Panthers sit at 13-12-4 which puts them in 4th place in the Atlantic division. The Panthers put an end to a four game skid on Saturday night with a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Jets will catch them in the middle of a three game road trip, as they head to Minnesota on Tuesday before coming to Winnipeg Thursday and then heading out to Denver immediately after the game to face the Avs in a back-to-back situation.  The Panthers are strong down the middle, with their top three scorers be centremen (Aleksander Barkov 6-14–20, Jonathon Marchessault 10-9–19, and Vincent Trochek 7-8–15). Marchessault has missed four concsecutive games with a lower body injury but is hopeful for the Minnesota game, so there’s a good chance he’ll be ready to go against the Jets on Thursday. The ageles wonder, Jaromir Jagr, is still chugging along at 44, with 15 points so far this year. The Panthers are 2-2-3 since firing Gerard Gallant back on November 28th. This game will mark the first meeting between the two this year; the other meeting will be the Jets first game of 2017 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL on January 4.

Sunday, December 18th vs Colorado Avalanche, MTS Centre, 2pm (TSN3, TSN1290)

The Avs got completely buried on Saturday when they lost 10-1 to the Canadiens in Montreal. They bounced back from that drubbing with a 3-1 win against the Leafs in Denver last night. They’ll head out on a short 2 game road trip that starts Wednesday in Philadelphia. When the Jets and Avs square off for the third time this season on Sunday, both Colorado and Winnipeg will be coming off games against the Panthers, as Florida faces Winnipeg on Thursday and Colorado on Friday. The Jets are 1-0-1 in Colorado so far this season; winning 1-0 on Oct 28 before losing in overtime 3-2 on Remembrance Day. Colorado currently sits in last place in the Central Division, trailing the Jets by 6 points, but they have played 5 less games.

Further On Down the Road

Things might seem dire in Jetsville these days, with Twitter looking for a wholesale change of the coaching staff and kicking around the idea of trading away everyone over 26 years of age, but a light week this week is followed by another light one the week after, when the Jets head to Vancouver for games on the 20th and 22nd. Going 3-1, or even 4-0, will go a heckuva long way making for a Happy Holidays for the Jets.