Winnipeg Jets vs. Phoenix Coyotes - 2/27/14
Phoenix Coyotes (27-21-10) at Winnipeg Jets (28-26-6)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm (MTS Centre)
The Line: Winnipeg Jets -110 / Phoenix Coyotes +100 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The Winnipeg Jets are only a couple points out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff race, but the Olympics might have shown them exactly why they just can't measure up. Ondrej Pavelec was absolutely awful for the Czech Republic and his numbers this season for the Jets haven't been all that impressive either. Pavelec is 18-22-4 with a 2.97 goals against average and .901 save percentage. WIth numbers like that it's a shock that the Jets are even in contention at this point but somehow they still have a fighting chance. Unfortunately for them the teams they're competing with have goaltenders like Mike Smith, Roberto Luongo, and Kari Lehtonen. It will be a tough hill to climb the rest of the way for Winnipeg if they dont either make a move for a goaltender or start getting better performances from Pavelec. Thursday night is a good place to start when the Jets host one of the teams they're chasing in the standings. Smith and the Coyotes struggled heading into the break, going just 4-5-1 over their final 10 games, but they still have to be looked at as one of the favorites to claim the final wild card berth. Goal scoring has been a problem of late for the Coyotes but for the season they've actually been middle of the pack. With Smith in goal this club is capable of competing with anyone in the league and we know they're coached about as well as any team out there. Typically the Coyotes have been an organization that tends to shy away from making additions at the deadline but it would be a huge boost to this roster if they could find a way to add another goal scorer to the mix. The schedule does not do the Coyotes any favors as they take on the Avalanche, Blues, Canucks, and Canadiens after playing in Winnipeg on Thursday. Both these teams should be thinking seriously about adding what they can come the trading deadline because the teams they're chasing all have problems of their own. Things look to be falling apart in Vancouver where the Canucks head into Wednesday night on a seven game losing streak and now there's whispers of Ryan Kesler requesting a trade. The Minnesota Wild have overachieved yet again, but it's hard to see that club continuing to play at this level with the goaltending situation they've got going on. Dallas might be one of the biggest dark horses in the race in the Western Conference but they're not a club that should scare either one of these teams off from really trying to make a run. Either way this game on Thursday night coming out of the break is a huge one for both of these teams. Winnipeg is very, very hard to beat at the MTS Centre but the edge has to go to the Coyotes and their goaltender in this one.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports