Flyers vs. Jets preview: Rookie-less defense gets a first look

The Winnipeg Jets can SWEEP THE SEASON SERIES with a win tonight against the Flyers at MTS Centre. That is just... absurd. We all remember the first game back in October, the crazy 9-8 loss at the WFC. Then, in the second meeting, the Jets jumped out to a huge lead before the Flyers clawed their way back in and lost 6-4. In the third meeting, the Flyers lost in a shootout.

So, that's progress in each meeting right? We should expect a win tonight!

7 p.m. tonight at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
TV: CSN Philly, TSN Jets | Radio: 94 WIP [feed]
Natural Rivals Of The Florida Panthers: Arctic Ice Hockey

Ah, if only it were that easy. Tonight's game will certainly be interesting for one big reason: the new-look defense. It's one thing to insert Nicklas Grossman in the mix for a game, but suddenly, the Flyers have two huge defensemen on the blueline in Grossman and Pavel Kubina, and this'll be the first test for these guys.

Marc-Andre Bourdon has been returned to the minors, and with Erik Gustafsson back in Adirondack as well, the Flyers suddenly have zero rookies on the blueline.

Here's what we're expecting the defense to look like tonight:

Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Kubina
Grossman - Meszaros

I'm not going to predict what's going to happen, but, well, it's a whole lot different back there than it was a week ago, that's for sure. And it's even more fun that Winnipeg happens to be firing on all cylinders offensively lately. Via Arctic Ice Hockey:

The offensive woes of the Jets seem to be a distant memory as the Jets have put up 4 goals or more in 3 straight wins. I don't think it's a coincidence that the new second line is producing in a good way. In 4 games together they've put up a stat line of 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points, while mustering 27 shots on goal and posting a +12 rating. Not too shabby for a couple of kids and a guy who makes 700k.

That second line is made up of Evander Kane, Kyle Wellwood and Alex Burmistrov, and the Flyers would be wise to try and stop them tonight. The Jets power play has been struggling for much of the season, so hopefully the recent PK woes that have faced the Flyers will vanish for at least one night.

No idea who'll be in goal tonight, but that'll be an interesting decision. Both goalies have had poor games against Winnipeg this season, but Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't bad in that shootout loss to the Jets.

We all know how much better the Flyers play on the road as opposed to at home, and this game in Winnipeg is the first of a lengthy West Coast trip. Maybe this is what they need more than anything -- time away from home, a long road trip, with their team assembled as it'll be come playoff time. The struggles have gone on long enough. It's time to kick it into gear again, starting tonight in Winnipeg.

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