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Jets At Blues Morning Open Thread/Game Preview: Paul Maurice Has Jets Flying High

The Jets have been without top gun Evander Kane, but have been humming along since Claude Noel's firing.

Ondrej Pavelec in his most favored goaltending position.
Ondrej Pavelec in his most favored goaltending position.
Dilip Vishwanat

Wow. It's amazing how much can change when you fire a coach that has lost (or probably never had) the room. Blues fans know that well, and now Winnipeg Jets fans do too. The last time the Blues played the Jets, Claude Noel was popping lozenges behind the bench. Now it's Paul Maurice's turn to try to get the Jets off of the ground, and so far something's clicked.

The Jets have beaten some of the NHL's best teams since Maurice was hired, including Anaheim and the Blackhawks in a shocking come from behind win in Chicago. Thursday night, though, they were cut down by the Washington Capitals, their old Southeast Division nemesis. The Jets have always had issues with the Capitals going back to their days as the Thrashers, and Thursday night was just another third period implosion against Washington. Heading into the third, the Jets were up 2-1, and then allowed three unanswered third period goals past Ondrej Pavelec.


I'll go out on a limb and say that ol' Flubber Pads McGee will be starting in net this afternoon for the Jets. Pavs has been playing pretty well as of late, but his numbers are still atrocious. He's 18-22-4 on the season with a huge 2.97 GAA and a .901 save percentage - which he finally got back up to .900 a couple of games ago thanks to a 28-save performance against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Blues have 10 more wins on the season than the Jets, who are just two games above .500 and floating both at almost the bottom of the Central and just outside of the Western Conference playoff bubble. Don't underestimate their ability to play well when they feel like it, though. They quit under Noel, just like the Thrashers quit under Craig Ramsay and John Anderson. Maurice should be able to squeeze some more blood out of this stone before the season's done. Past that? Who knows.

An early Lighting The Lamp is coming up soon thanks to the 1:00 puck drop. If you're impatient, head over to my good friends at Arctic Ice Hockey and check out some stats, analysis, and a bitter sense of resignation. At 12:30 I'll have a game day thread ready to go.