Phoenix Coyotes (21-14-9) at Winnipeg Jets (19-23-5)
|Date & Time||Monday January 13, 2014, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Winnipeg Jets -105 / Phoenix Coyotes -105 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Jets look to find the win column in their first game under new direction when they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday.
The Coyotes have often been regarded as a league doormat but for the better part of a decade they have extinguished that label and have been a playoff contender that gives opponent’s fits. The Phoenix franchise makes another return to their old stomping grounds tonight as it was the former Winnipeg Jets that bolted for the desert and left a hockey hungry market starving for so many years until the Thrashers was moved north. Mike Smith has been great in the Phoenix crease this season and has played some inspired hockey after being named as one of the three goaltenders for the Canadian Olympic team in Sochi. The Coyotes currently sit in fifth place in the Pacific division as their mini two game slide has dropped them six back of the Canucks but with a winning streak starting tonight they could very well climb back up into the playoff picture before the end of the week.
The Jets have been the model of inconsistency since returning back to Winnipeg and their underachieving ways has finally led to some major changes in the organization. Claude Noel who has been the team’s bench boss since the re-introduction of the franchise was let go yesterday and was replaced by former Hurricanes and Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice who will hope to bring success to his new postal code. Winnipeg has a pretty decent team that should be competing for a playoff spot but instead they are in dead last in the Central division and are in a top five draft slot which to the management team and the fan base is completely unacceptable. Goaltending hasn’t been the biggest issue in Winnipeg but certainly one for thought as both Ondrej Pavelec and Al Montoya have struggled at times and neither has been able to spark his team to victory of late. The former is projected to start in this one as he goes up against Mike Smith who has the edge for his club in the crease but I expect a raucous crowd on hand tonight. It is always a nice angle to take the team playing in their first game with a new coach and I think that is where we are siding in this one.