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Preview: Jets visit TD Garden

The Central Division leaders come to town for the only time this season

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Just The Facts

Who: Winnipeg Jets (31-16-2, 66 Pts.) vs. Boston Bruins (27-17-5, 59 Pts.)

Where: TD Garden

When: 7 PM est

How to Follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival Site: Arctic Ice Hockey

Know Your Enemy

When the Winnipeg Jets come to town tonight, they will be without Nikolaj Ehlers and Dustin Byfuglien will be absent from their lineup with injuries. Ehlers is an electric offensive presence for the Jets while Dustin Byfuglien offers a little bit of everything with his physical style of play. Furthermore, the Jets played last night in Philadelphia, making them a tired group.

The Winnipeg Jets sit atop the Central with three games in hand on the second-place Nashville Predators. Similar to the Bruins, 5v5 play isn’t their biggest strength. The Jets have scored 51.1% of the 5v5 goals in the games they have played, good for 12th in the league. For comparison, the Bruins have scored 51.3% of the 5v5 goals in the games they have played, good for 11th in the league. Instead, both teams have deadly powerplays and draw more penalties than they take. The Jets are only +4 at 5v5, but +27 away from 5v5 play.

Game Notes

  • Jaroslav Halak - The Bruins need to see Halak bounce back tonight. After an unbelievable start, he has regressed. Of course he was not going to be able to sustain the Vezina-quality goaltending he was delivering the Bruins in the first three months of the season, but Tuukka Rask was there to pick his own game back up. With no Rask, and the Bruins struggling offensively (hopefully that will change), Halak needs to step back up to the plate.
  • Trent Frederic - Well it looks like the Wisconsin Badger will get his chance. With the Bruins sending JFK to Providence and promoting Frederic, the ball is in his court. It will be interesting to hear the comments from the coaching staff following tonight’s game along with the next few. Playing between Heinen and Backes isn’t likely to yield many points. His defensive game along with his ability to drive play are what the Bruins will be looking for.
  • Post bye week hangover? - The bye week is a new thing to the NHL. We’ve had them for the past couple of years, but we don’t know if there’s an effect on the players or not. Will the Bruins get right back into their groove, or will it take a period or two?
  • How will the Bruins play under pressure? - I don’t mean pressure as in butterflies, but rather puck pressure. The Jets are very aggressive in all three zones. Bruins puck carriers will be forced to make clean passes in order to turn this against the Jets.

Never Forget

Who doesn’t love Blake Wheeler?