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JGD 67: Jets Swim With The Sharks

The Winnipeg Jets are looking for their third win in a row as the San Jose Sharks make their second visit to the MTS Centre. The Jets haven’t had much fun when they’ve swam with the Sharks as San Jose has won both meetings this season. With a playoff spot close by, the Jets need all the points possible if they want to play more hockey in late April.

Lineups:

Winnipeg (30-30-6)

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Andrew Copp took a nasty knee on knee collision on Saturday night but managed to finish the game. There was concern because it looked like Copp suffered a serious injury but the University of Michigan alum seems to be ready to go.

I’m not sure you’re aware of this but Patrik Laine is pretty good. The rookie sensation notched his 32nd goal of the season which gives him the goal-scoring lead amongst freshmen. The Calder Trophy debate rages between Laine and Auston Matthews and it will be fascinating to watch these two young phenoms for the final month of the season.

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Defensive depth is an issue with the Jets, which makes Josh Morrissey’s strong play so important. The 2013 first round draft pick has been getting better and better with each passing game. 52.2% CF and 52.2% FF shows strong, responsible play while driving possession with solid puck movement. The Jets could use a few more d-men like Morrissey in the system.

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Connor Hellebuyck was 15.4 seconds away from recording back-to-back shutouts over the weekend. While not overworked, Hellebuyck’s play went from solid to excellent, making “timely saves” when called upon. The Jets will ride him for the time being.

San Jose (38-19-7)

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Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to produce despite their advanced ages. Thornton hasn’t changed much (except for the beard) when it comes to his offensive game. He is still an assist machine as his 35 out of his 40 points are assists are proof. Marleau still looks to shoot first. He’s second on the Sharks with 22 goals. These two are still looking for their first Stanley Cup and their window is closing.

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Brent Burns is one of the great characters in the NHL. He’s also one of the best defencemen as well. He leads the Sharks in scoring with 67 points (27 G, 40 A) while driving possession. (53.4% CF) Burns is a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy as well as the best beard if Festival de Voyageur was still ongoing. The Jets will need to be aware when Burns is on the ice.

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Don’t be surprised if Aaron Dell gets the start. Martin Jones played yesterday in the Sharks 3-1 loss to Minnesota and he may need a rest. Dell did start against the Jets back on January 24, a 4-3 win for the Sharks in which Dell made 30 saves in 33 shots on goal.

Predictions:

Game Prediction: I’ve been told by friends I’m too negative when it comes to the Jets. So here’s some positive thoughts. Jets are on a roll, Sharks are tired, I’m calling a 4-3 overtime win for the Jets.

Obvious Prediction: There will be a Jaws and a Sharknado reference on the broadcast. Because it’s the Sharks.

Not So Obvious Prediction: Dustin Byfuglien will put Burns in a sleeper hold, then shave off Burns’ beard a la Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.