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Revitalized Jets Set To Clash With Penguins Team That Will Not Have Crosby, Malkin

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/24/2015 12:13:44 AM

The 2015 NHL All-Star game arrives at the perfect time for some teams while others probably wish that it was the following week so that they would have a chance to build off the momentum of a recent win streak. The Winnipeg Jets could be the team that falls right in the middle of that equation as the fact that injuries have been piling up might be reason to think it’s a good time for a break despite that they have won five straight games. Here is a quick look at four key match ups for Tuesday night in the NHL.

Winnipeg Jets @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Tuesday, 7:00 PM ET

The Jets ranked among the surprise teams of the first half of the season as they posted 26 wins and 60 points through the first 48 games to remain in the hunt for a top-three spot in the Central division behind Nashville, St. Louis, and Chicago. Leapfrogging any one of those teams will be difficult but they have a seven-point lead on the Calgary Flames for the first Western Conference Wild Card spot and will control their destiny the rest of the way. Getting healthy will be important as they were forced to deal with far too many injuries throughout the first half of the year. The Penguins will have to overcome an injury situation of their own for Tuesday since both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin elected not to compete in the NHL All-Star game due to injury. Both players must sit out Tuesday’s game as a result and that’s bad news for a team that has lost four in a row.

Pick: Winnipeg

New York Rangers @ New York Islanders

Tuesday, 7:00 PM ET

Another team that surprised a number of experts through the first half of the NHL season is the Metropolitan division-leading Islanders. With 31 wins and 63 points they are just one point back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the best record in the Eastern Conference and they have an excellent chance to build on their lead against one of their biggest rivals this week. The Rangers won three in a row before the break and have been pretty good on the road but they were shut out by the Islanders two weeks ago and the home side will be 16-4-0 heading in to this contest.

Pick: New York Islanders

Dallas Stars @ Montreal Canadiens

Tuesday, 7:00 PM ET

Montreal posted a 7-2-1 record in 10 games before the All-Star break and consistency will be a major focus in the second half. The Canadiens fell to third in the Atlantic division behind the streaking Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings and they will need a strong second half in order to have a chance at winning the division and securing home ice advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. The second half of their season will start against a Stars team that really underachieved throughout its first 46 games. Dallas was a team that relied too heavily on scoring and will need better goaltending in the second half and the Habs should be able to plant a seed of doubt early on if they can score a couple of quick goals and put the Stars on their heels.

Pick: Montreal



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