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Photo Credit: © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

JGD82: The End Is Upon Us As The Jets Close The Season Out

Welcome to the final game of the regular season for the Winnipeg Jets as they face the Nashville Predators. The long and arduous season is finally done and we can reflect upon what this year has brought us. Currently, the Jets are on their longest win streak of the 2016-17 season, 6 games, and hope to make it 7 games. This win streak is the longest streak since the Jets relocated to Winnipeg.

The Jets are 18-8-2 against the Central Division this season, go figure, but could not figure out how to play out of division games and as a result, are stuck playing golf for the rest of the year.

The Predators are tweaking their line up, making sure they have the right mix for game one of the playoffs.  Hopefully the Jets can give them more questions than answers.

Winnipeg Jets (39-35-7, 5th in the Central Division)

LW C RW
Nikolaj Ehlers
Nikolaj Ehlers
Mark Scheifele
Mark Scheifele
Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault
Mathieu Perreault
Bryan Little
Bryan Little
Patrik Laine
Patrik Laine
Brandon Tanev
Brandon Tanev
Adam Lowry
Adam Lowry
Joel Armia
Joel Armia
Kyle Connor
Kyle Connor
Andrew Copp
Andrew Copp
Chris Thorburn
Chris Thorburn

The forward group has many Jets fans banging their heads against the wall as Tanev and Thorburn stay in the lineup while Dano and Petan sit. As well, Jack Roslovic was sent back down to the Moose after playing only one game. Luckily, Kyle Connor will play in this final game, but he is stuck on the fourth line. Management cannot decide if they want to see what they got with their youngsters, or make them earn their positions, or be faithful to their vets.

Luckily, the Jets have some bright stars in their line up. They are one of two teams with four players (Scheifele, Laine, Ehlers, Wheeler) reaching 60 or more points. The Leafs are the other team. Wheeler is entering the final game on a 7 game point streak, while Scheifele leads the Jets with 81 points. Laine currently sits at 36 goals. Wouldn’t it be cool if Laine could some how reach the 40 goal plateau tonight?

Defensive Pairings
Josh Morrissey
Josh Morrissey
Jacob Trouba
Jacob Trouba
Julian Melchiori
Julian Melchiori
Dustin Byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart
Mark Stuart
Nelson Nogier
Nelson Nogier

The Jets were hoping Myers could draw in for the final game, but he is not 100 percent in his recovery from injury. Jacob Trouba scored two goals against the Blue Jackets and has officially set his place in the elite defender conversation. We already knew he was already there, but now the whole league knows. Paired with Trouba is Josh Morrissey, who has complimented Trouba quite well. The rookie has been a pleasant addition to the Jets’ line up and they are lucky he was able to step up this season.

Will this be Mark Stuarts last game as a Winnipeg Jet? We will see, maybe there is enough youth ready to keep him sitting in the press box or down in the AHL playing with the Moose.

Connor Hellebuyck is poised to get the final start of the year.

Nashville Predators (41-28-12, 4th in the Central Division)

LW C RW
Filip Forsberg
Filip Forsberg
Ryan Johansen
Ryan Johansen
James Neal
James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson
Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok
Calle Jarnkrok
Craig Smith
Craig Smith
Kevin Fiala
Kevin Fiala
Colton Sissons
Colton Sissons
P.A. Parenteau
P.A. Parenteau
Harry Zolnierczyk
Harry Zolnierczyk
Austin Watson
Austin Watson
Miikka Salomaki
Miikka Salomaki

The Jets will have their work cut out for them as they hope to shut the Predators down. Arvidsson and Johansen are tied at 61 points for the team lead in points. Arvidsson and Forsberg are tied for goal scoring lead at 31 goals.

Laviolette is busy seeing which line up combination is optimal as he tests to see where Salomaki is at. Mike Fisher, Yannick Weber and Ryan Ellis sit tonight.

Defensive Pairings
Roman Josi
Roman Josi
Matt Irwin
Matt Irwin
Mattias Ekholm
Mattias Ekholm
P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban
Brad Hunt
Brad Hunt
Anthony Bitetto
Anthony Bitetto

Brad Hunt draws in tonight to give him some work before the playoffs, in case he is called upon. Roman Josi leads all Predators defenseman with 49 points in the 2016-17 season.

Pekka Rinne will get the nod in net for the Predators. He is 31-18-9 with a GAA of 2.43 and a save percentage of .917.