The NHL is celebrating Hockey Day in Canada with three Canadian rivalry games, the first of which pits the Ottawa Senators against the Winnipeg Jets. The Ottawa Senators have a tremendous advantage in this game, and it will be extremely difficult for the Jets to keep pace with the Sens, even if they are certainly capable of elevating their game for this budding rivalry.
The Winnipeg Jets are one of the worst road teams in hockey since being relocated. Beaten down by an unfair schedule in the Southeast conference, the Jets have a hard time playing consistently on the road. Their struggles in away games last season may very well have cost them a playoff spot.
Against one of hockey’s hottest teams right now, the Jets will need to play their best in a challenging road game. Quite frankly, I’m not sure they have it in them.
Craig Anderson has been one of hockey’s best goaltenders this season, as the Ottawa defense has allowed fewer than two goals per game. Meanwhile, the Senators offense continues to produce, scoring nearly a full goal more per game than they’ve allowed.
Players like Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Chris Neil give the Senators impressive and recognizable scoring depth, while Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson carried the load so far this season. Erik Karlsson has produced nine points in eleven games as a defenseman, helping to contribute to Ottawa’s early success. This is a deep and talented offensive team with a hot goaltender, and one of the league’s stingiest defenses as we approach the quarter-way mark in an NHL lockout-shortened season.
Unless the Winnipeg Jets are able to put together a strong game on both sides of the ice, one the road, against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference so far this season, the Winnipeg Jets will be hard-pressed to come away with a win on Hockey Day in Canada. In the end, I think it will take an effort that Winnipeg isn’t capable of producing at this point in the year.
Predictions: Senators 4 – Jets 2