The Winnipeg Jets have been enjoying their time in California, as they picked up their biggest win of the year in the first game of the Dad’s trip. They will attempt to close out the two-game road swing in similar fashion, when they take on the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Winnipeg shocked the NHL when they were the first team to beat the league-best Anaheim Ducks at home in regulation by a 3-2 score on Monday night. The Jets’ win stretched their current streak to four, and Winnipeg could get back to .500% in 2014 with a win on Thursday, after starting the year 0-5. The Sharks returned after a perfect three-game road trip to beat the Calgary Flames at home on Monday, and they also have a four-game win streak coming into the contest.
The Jets will likely go with starter Ondrej Pavelec in goal for his fifth straight start. The 28-year old has been in net for all of the Jets’ four wins on their current streak, most recently making 40 saves against the Ducks on Monday. Pavelec has a .901% save percentage and 2.99 GAA in 39 games this season. The Sharks will give some much-needed rest to starter Antti Niemi, as back-up Alex Stalock will get the start. Stalock, who had a 24-save shutout in his last appearance, has a .938% save percentage and 1.80 GAA in 11 appearances this season.
The Jets have a healthy active roster, and will likely draw James Wright back into the lineup, after he was a healthy scratch. Eric O’Dell will likely be in his place, after two goals/three points in his five games since being called up from the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps. Winnipeg till has Grant Clitsome (season, back) Matt Halischuk (broken arm), Paul Postma (blood clot), and Jim Slater (hernia) on Injured Reserve. Former Manitoba Mosse Mike Brown will be back in the lineup after a neck injury, meaning James Sheppard will sit. The Sharks have rookie star Tomas Hertl (knee) and Logan Couture (upper-body) on the IR, joining Adam Burish (back), Raffi Torres (ACL), and Scott Hannan (upper-body).
The Jets have the opportunity to not only rise above the .500% mark, but become one of the hottest teams in the league with a win on Thursday. Their five-game win streak would be the highest of the season, and the third-longest active streak in the NHL (Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs).
Another team effort like the one in Anaheim would not only be a huge advantage, but record-setting. The Jets’ 36 shot blocks on Monday night is the highest NHL total since the 2004-05 lockout. With Evander Kane back from injury and producing, and Paul Maurice’s magic with the lines sees three lines capable of scoring goals, something previously unheard of in Jets circles.
You can see the game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Non-regional viewers can catch the action on Comcast SportsNet California. Puck drop from the SAP Center is at 9:30 PM Central Time.