© Chuck Duboff
The high flying Winnipeg Jets face a major four game test; sitting near the top of both the divisional and league standings, the Jets face Chicago tonight, back to back with St Louis this weekend and then Nashville next Tuesday. Our Jets blogger, Geoff Brookes, takes a look at what the Jets need to do to make this a successful four games.
© Geoff Brookes
The Jets have ticked a lot of the items on their checklist for this hockey season:
-Great home record.
-Great record against non-playoff teams.
-Solid road trip to California, with wins agains the Kings and the Ducks.
-Solid winning record, 4th in the NHL as of early Wednesday evening.
The Jets also have a very good record vs. central division rivals so far this year – 4-1-1.
They haven’t played either the Hawks or the Blues yet. That will change over the next few days, as they meet Chicago tonight, followed by back to back game against St.Louis on the weekend, on the road and then home on Sunday.The Jets then travel to Nashville for an opportunity to avenge their road loss to the Preds from a month ago.
Needless to say, the Central Division games are important for the playoff races. Already the Western wild card race is looking like it will feature 2 Central Division teams. These are the proverbial 4 point games.
In order for the Jets to win these critical matches, they will need to play more like the team that has dominated home games – and like the team that stormed the Kings and the Ducks in California – and less like the team that stumbled in Detroit and Miami.
They’ll need to play sound, system-oriented hockey, and aggressively hunt down loose pucks.
The line that seems to make the difference, for better or worse, is the Perreault, Hendricks Armia line (or the “M&M” line, for the 2 “Matty’s”). They have either been very good (most nights), or fairly bad (against the Wings and the Panthers).
The Laine-Little-Ehlers line also needs to do a better job of controlling the play at even strength.
The defensemen and goaltending look good. A strong start by Mason in one of the 2 games against the Blues would provide a big lift for the team.
I’m loving the way this team is playing. If they get through these 4 tough games with 6 points, they will be right on track as one of the top teams in the NHL.
Go Jets Go!!!