After two games on the road to open the season, the Jets are back in the friendly confines of Bell MTS Place and hosting the Los Angeles Kings who start a four game road swing through Canada starting tonight in Winnipeg before going to Montreal on Thursday and then through Ontario this weekend.
This we know. There are three other questions though that we don’t and that we’ll be looking to get answers for tonight.
1 – Can the Jets stay out of the box?
It felt like a bit of a blast from the Jets past on Saturday with the team taking dumb, lazy restraining foul type penalties and then getting punished for it by giving up three power play goals to the Dallas Stars. Now, the Kings power play attack shouldn’t be as deadly as the Stars boasted but with the likes of Kopitar, Kovalchuk and Doughty on it, the Jets should be very wary of giving them multiple chances to fire away on Hellebuyck.
Overall special teams might be the story of this entire game. The Kings have yet to tally in eight chances with the man advantage this season but did show signs of being a dangerous unit that utilizes the shot of Ilya Kovalchuk. The Jets penalty kill can’t get much worse than it was on Saturday, but it would be nice to see them put up a perfect effort at home tonight.
2 – Is Jack Campbell going to be able to fill the pads of Jon Quick?
A lot of Kings fans and media cringed at the thought of what life may be like without Quick, but Jack Campbell had himself a fine game on the road against the Red Wings on Sunday. As of press time, it’s unknown just how much longer Quick will be out, but if it’s for any real length of time the Kings may not have any option to bring in reinforcements which leaves them at the mercy of the 11th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Los Angeles did recall Peter Budaj from the AHL and could be capable of filling in should Campbell struggle, but all indications are this is Jack’s team for now. He has carried over his strong play from last season into a strong training camp and earning the backup spot, but being relied on as the starter for a length of time always seems to be a different story.
3 – How long is PoMo going to let 29/18/27 go this time?
You could excuse Jets fans for seeing Paul Maurice put Nik Ehlers back with Patrik Laine and Bryan Little and going “but this never works” but for the moment it’s not like Maurice has many options. Ehlers is wasted on fourth line duty where he spent the first game of the season and it was shown that he may not get more than 11 minutes a night, yet he along with Little and Laine just doesn’t seem to work.
The top line of Connor / Scheifele / Wheeler is still strong and splitting up the TLC line isn’t an option… yet. The Jets may have to resort to one or both of those measures though if they can’t get a second line to figure things out.
Things have looked a bit iffy for the Jets in the first two games this season, but we were saying the same thing about them two games into last season and this club has two more points than last year’s club did. The Kings will be tough, but the Jets match up well against them and as long as they can play a clean game, should skate away with a W. Jets win 5-1.
Let us know what you think to the questions above, what kind of questions you may have going into the game and give us your game prediction! Give us your thoughts in the comments below, or shout us out on our Twitter or Facebook pages.