The Winnipeg Jets host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday in one of their biggest games of the year, opening a three-game homestand just a point out of first place in the division. Given Winnipeg’s struggles on the road, the Jets must pick up points on home ice against a struggling Philadelphia Flyers team, playing in their second game of a back-to-back.
The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten off to a slow start to the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Injuries and an unsuccessful offseason have left the Flyers depleted. Philadelphia is just 1-6 on the road this season and, after getting blown out in Toronto on Monday night, the Flyers limp into Winnipeg. The Jets must capitalize on the fatigue and poor play of the Philadelphia Flyers, who were widely-regarded as a possible playoff team entering the season.
Winnipeg faces two of the best teams in hockey after they host the Philadelphia Flyers. The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins will be extremely difficult challenges for the Jets, particularly because of their well-documented goaltending struggles. Because of the difficulty of the upcoming homestand, Tuesday’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers is extremely important if the Jets are to hang around in the playoff hunt after this week.
The Jets will need to improve defensively to compete with the Flyers. Philadelphia may be without one of their leading scorers in Scott Hartnell, but they’re a deep team offensively. Claude Giroux is one of the most dangerous playmakers in hockey, and the top lines of the Flyers are very capable of generating scoring. After a frustrating loss on Monday, expect Philadelphia’s best effort.
Still, the Jets may have the upper hand in this one. The Flyers’ miserable track record on the road this season, combined with Winnipeg’s excellence on home ice, gives the Jets a distinct advantage heading into the game. The Flyers are tired, while the Jets have been home waiting for Philadelphia since their shutout victory over the Ottawa Senators this weekend.
Rested, on home ice, and back to .500, the Jets must win this game to stay in the hunt. Motivated and healthy, I like their chances.
Jets 4 – Flyers 3