Week in Review:
Blues Record: 1-1-0 (4-3 OTW vs WNK, 3-2 OTL @ POR)
With an extended week thanks to the holidays and a postponement, the Blues had their longest gap between games this month.
On Tuesday, the Blues picked up a huge 4-3 OT win over the Winkler Flyers to extend their lead over the Flyers for second place in the East Division. Tyler Teasdale scored twice, including the OT winner, for his first multi-goal game in the MJHL. The Blues now have a four point edge on Winkler for second.
Winnipeg had a home game against the Portage Terrier scheduled for Saturday, but weather forced the game to be postponed. A make-up date has not yet been announced.
On Louis Riel Day, the Blues headed west to Portage to battle the Terriers in some early evening action. The Blues didn’t play their best game, but they were able to take a point back to Winnipeg from Portage. The Blues lost 3-2 in OT, the first time they’ve lost in the extra frame this season.
Winnipeg has two matchups against the best team in the division this week.
First, the Blues go to Steinbach to face the Pistons on the road, before facing them at home the next night. Winnipeg sits 12 points behind the Pistons with a game in hand, but the two teams battle four more times this season. If the Blues can win the set, they can put themselves in striking distance of the top spot, but the Blues better be ready to battle – Steinbach has won six straight games. Only the Dauphin Kings has given up less goals than the Pistons this season, and no team takes less penalty minutes.
The Blues go to Steinbach on Friday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, February 26, Winnipeg welcomes the Pistons to the RINK Training Centre at 7:30 p.m.
Three Keys for the Week:
1st: Power Up the Power Play
The Winnipeg Blues do not have a power play goal in February, and only had one shot on their two power plays against Portage on Monday. The Blues are short some key cogs in their power play machine, but they need to find ways to fit in new parts to get the group humming like they were in January.
2nd: Faster Starts
The Blues have given up the opening goal in back-to-back games. Their defensive game has been steady while their offense, particularly against Portage, took some time to get going. The Blues are one of the best in the league at holding a lead, so the earlier they can grab the advantage, the better.
3rd: Keep Experimenting
Winnipeg is going to be a playoff team; that certainty allows the Blues to test things out around their lineup. The Blues tried different looks with their forward group on Monday to see if they could find some things that click for them. The coaches say they want to find new options, especially in the bottom six. Those new options could be key come playoffs, so expect Winnipeg to keep the line blender powered up.