What: St. Louis Blues vs. Winnipeg Jets
Where: MTS Centre in Winnipeg
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Midewest
Radio: Y98 FM
Fresh off the heels of a hard-fought 3-2 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night, the Blues will travel north of the border for the first time this season to face their new division rival, the Winnipeg Jets.
This will be only the second time the Blues have faced-off against the team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers. Their only other meeting resulted in a 3-2 shootout victory for the Blues at Winnipeg on February 25, 2012.
After spending their first two years in the Eastern Conference, the Jets were moved to the Western Conference (Central Division) as part of the NHL’s realignment that went into effect this season. They are 3-4 on the young season as they begin the process of adjusting to Western Conference hockey.
The Jets are a very young team, with only three players on their roster over the age of 30. One of those three is Finnish star Olli Jokinen, whom Blues fans may best remember for his days with the Calgary Flames. Jokinen, 34, is in his second season with the Jets and has notched a goal and two assists in seven games this season. Jokinen has four goals and 10 assists in 30 career games against the Blues.
Here are some other names to keep an eye on when the Blues and Jets face-off on Friday night.
Kane is a star in the making. Drafted fourth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kane already has a 30-goal season to his name in 2011-2012, and was well on his way to another (17 G) if not for the lockout-shortened season last year.
Now the captain of the Jets, Ladd may best be remembered from his days with the Blackhawks from 2007-2010. A former fourth overall pick in 2004, Ladd’s career has blossomed since he came to the Jet’s organization in 2010 (then the Thrashers), posting point totals of 59, 50 and 46 in his three years with the club. Before the 2010-2011 season, the most points he had in a season was 49 in 2008-2009.
Another former Blackhawk, Byfuglien has become one of the most offensively productive defenseman in the entire NHL. Since moving on from Chicago after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, Byfuglien has finished 4th (53), 2nd (53) and 11th (28) among NHL defensemen in points.
Bogosian has a lot in common with Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Bogosian was drafted third overall in 2008, one slot before Pietrangelo was selected by the Blues. Both were drafted to be their respective franchise’s cornerstone defenseman for years to come. Additionally, both signed long-term extensions over the summer: Bogosian a seven-year, $36 million deal, and Pietrangelo a seven-year, $45.5 million deal.
Pietrangelo has outperformed Bogosian thus far in their careers. Still, it will be interesting to see two players on the ice together whose career paths are both eerily similar.
Elliott gets the nod:
Brian Elliottwill get his first start of the season against the Jets, giving Jaroslav Halak the night off. Hitchcock usually switches goalies when there are games on back-to-back days, so this should be no surprise.