Only in the NHL: The Blues leave Nashville and fly 1000+ miles Northwest to take on the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets. Fortunately, lengthy travel should be a little easier after a win. The Blues gritted out a tough win against the Preds, and can now take some confidence into their only meeting this year with the Jets. This is the second game of a 6-game road trip, one that should set the tone for the rest of the season. The best-case scenario is that the team achieves their "Road Warrior" goals, rally around each other, and experience a little team bonding. This team certainly has it in them to do just that. And if they do, they'll be alright for the last month of the season.
Doing Alright With The Boys / Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
The Enemy: Do not adjust your sets, there really is such a thing as a team called the Winnipeg Jets. In reality, though, it's just the Atlanta Thrashers with a new wardrobe. In a quirk that could only happen in the Eastern Conference, a Jets win over Tampa Bay resulted in the Jets leap-frogging over the Panthers to take the division lead. This lifted them from the fight for 9th place in the conference to suddenly 3rd place.
The Jets have come on strong as of late, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They have been particularly good at home, posting a 19-9-3 record at the MTS Centre this season. The goaltending for the Jets has been fairly dependable: starter Ondrej Pavelec has a GAA of 2.78, and backup Chris Mason has a GAA of 2.30. Both have the same SV% of .910. I have no inside information yet on who's starting for WPG, but I seem to recall that Mason used to play especially tough as a Blue when he took on his old team, the Preds. I could see him starting today as well.
As for scoring, its the usual suspects in the lead. Blake Wheeler leads in overall scoring (11G / 38A) and is riding a 5-game point streak (including a whopping 10 assists). Evander Kane leads in goals with 23 (40 pts overall) and captain Andrew Ladd is right behind with 21 goals. Also, there is Dustin Byfuglien and former Blue (kinda) Kyle Wellwood to watch out for on the ice.
Final Verse: It's an early one today, with the puck dropping at 1 PM St Louis time. The game will be will broadcast on the usual outlets, Fox Sports MW for TV, and KMOX 1120 AM for radio. Until then, this is your
pregame warmup morning skate. Gather here, bitch about early starts, contemplate the travel for a WPG playoff series, and enjoy a little number from the old Chris Rock show....
Biz Markie Performing "Bennie and the Jets" (via wwazza)