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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets look to overtake Rangers for eighth in East

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets look to overtake the New York Rangers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference when the clubs meet Thursday at MTS Centre.

The Jets (13-11-2) will face the Rangers with a pair of tweaks to their lineup after a 5-2 home win Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winnipeg recalled center Patrice Cormier from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to replace Jim Slater on the fourth line. Slater departed the game Tuesday with an apparent hand injury.

It also appears that center Alexander Burmistrov will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Noel termed Burmistrov a game-time decision, but Burmistrov remained on the ice after the club's morning skate.

Winnipeg also recalled goaltender Edward Pasquale early Thursday to replace backup goaltender Al Montoya, who Noel said has aggravated a lower-body injury. Pasquale will dress in Montoya's place against the Rangers.

Here is what the Jets' lineup could look like Thursday:

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 3:31 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Burmistrov game-time decision for Jets

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets' 12-11-2 record belies coach Claude Noel's mood these days.

The Jets collected five of a possible eight points during their just-concluded four-game road trip, but Noel arrived home less than pleased with his team's recent play. Winnipeg enters games Tuesday ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, and the Jets have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs five consecutive years. Talk of a desire to build accountability and establish a winning culture have surrounded the club nearly since its arrival in Winnipeg in May 2011.

"If you win by accident, that's going to run out," Noel said. "You're going to run into problems. That's where the fear comes in for me. We'll take [the wins], but let's be real -- the one thing that I like to do is to be honest with our team, make sure that we look in the mirror at how we play. For me, it's all in how you play and if you do the right things."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs attempt to improve on road mark

WINNIPEG -- The Toronto Maple Leafs return to the friendly environment of the road Tuesday night when they meet the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Toronto (15-10-1) has posted a 9-5-0 mark away from Air Canada Centre, where coach Randy Carlyle's club is fresh off a 5-4 shootout loss Saturday evening to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Toronto has collected points in four of its past five games. After facing the Jets, the Maple Leafs meet Pittsburgh again Thursday to begin a three-game homestand.

It was thought that Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin, who returned against Pittsburgh after a knee injury sidelined him for 12 games, might form a new second line for Toronto. Carlyle shrugged aside the notion, however.


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets looking to turn things around at MTS Centre

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets at long last can unpack and settle back in at home for a game Tuesday evening against the Toronto Maple Leafs at MTS Centre after spending nearly three weeks on the road.

The Jets (12-11-2) survived a stretch of nine of 11 games away from home, going 6-2-1 and holding themselves firmly in contention in the Eastern Conference.

However, coach Claude Noel panned his club's effort in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils that ended the Jets' four-game road trip Sunday. Noel benched Alexander Burmistrov for most of the second half of the loss, with the third-year center logging a season-low 9:22 of ice time against the Devils. Burmistrov remained on the ice long after the Jets' morning skate concluded, and Noel termed his status a "game-time decision." Chris Thorburn will likely replace Burmistrov.

The Jets will be back on home ice, where they have struggled this year and own four wins in their first 10 home games.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils hope to stop rare losing streak

WINNIPEG -- The New Jersey Devils begin a three-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday hoping to stop a rare multigame losing streak.

Losses to the Jets on Feb. 24 and to the Washington Capitals the day before marked the first consecutive regulation losses for the Devils (10-5-4) since March 17-19, 2012.

New Jersey will start goaltender Johan Hedberg for the third consecutive game after placing Martin Brodeur on injured reserve this week.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Successful trip complete, Jets focus on home record

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets left town Feb. 18 a team fighting to save its season. Now the Jets are back with a new outlook on their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes after an eventful 4-0-1 road trip.

The Jets (9-9-1) make a two-game pit stop at MTS Centre that starts Thursday night when the New Jersey Devils make their lone visit to Winnipeg. After a Southeast Division contest with the Washington Capitals at home Saturday afternoon, the Jets will again hit the road for another week-long trip.

Winnipeg has rectified some of the road issues that derailed the club last season, but now home ice is a concern. The Jets have dropped four consecutive games at MTS Centre and are 3-5-0 at home this season. The clubs split two MTS Centre dates last season, and the Jets scored a 4-2 decision when the teams met Feb. 24 at New Jersey.

"It's really good when you go around the city and people congratulate you on the road trip, which is good," Jets coach Claude Noel said of life in a city that was rather displeased with its club earlier this month. "I think that our players will be ready."

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Cooke dealing with Karlsson injury criticism

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Matt Cooke has taken a heavy barrage of criticism for his involvement in the injury sustained by Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on Wednesday.

Cooke's left skate sliced Karlsson's left Achilles tendon during a puck battle along the boards, ending the reigning Norris Trophy winner's season. Karlsson underwent surgery Thursday and faces a lengthy rehabilitation period. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Bryan Murray have expressed their displeasure with Cooke, whose disciplinary history makes leaves him vulnerable to such rebukes.

No penalty was called on the play, and the NHL Department of Player Safety saw no need to assess supplemental discipline.

Cooke expressed his regret about the incident Friday after the Penguins conducted their morning skate at MTS Centre. Cooke said he had reached out to Karlsson via a text message.

"Whether or not he responds to me, I understand," Cooke said. "At the end of the day, it was a freak, unfortunate accident and I can't control anything else but that. I obviously felt bad about the cut and just hope that he has a fast recovery. I know it's not fast, but as fast as possible."

Cooke also adopted a non-confrontational tone in regard to Melnyk's criticism and chose not to offer his feelings on the comments that have been directed toward him since the game Wednesday.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins hope to continue road success in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Pittsburgh Penguins return to life on the road, a place of comfort for them this season, when they meet the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Friday.

The Penguins are 6-2-0 on the road this season, and land in Winnipeg 7-3-0 in their past 10 games. The Pittsburgh power play has scored in each of the club's past six games and is clicking at a 37.5-percent rate in that span (9-for-24).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma attributes his team’s road success to a hard-nosed approach away from home.

"We've been able to do that on the road with more effect than maybe at home," Bylsma said. "We've been able stay away from the perception of our team, which is high-skill and making great plays, to playing a hard game, playing in the offensive zone, being a smothering team. We've been able to do that in some tough places, and that's maybe been [the reason for] our success on the road."

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 1:02 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Tangradi debuts, Bogosian makes debut for Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Newly acquired Eric Tangradi will be making his Winnipeg Jets debut Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins at MTS Centre, but he will not be the only player in the lineup needing to make a fresh impression on Jets coach Claude Noel.

Noel blistered his team Thursday, telling the local media he did not like the way it played nor the players' effort. Noel's comments followed a busy Wednesday in which the Jets shipped out veteran forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils hours after landing Tangradi. Winnipeg dropped a 3-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Byfuglien returning for Jets vs. Flyers

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers have one thing in common heading into their game Tuesday at MTS Centre -- both are coming off recent losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Jets lost 3-2 at home to Toronto on Feb. 7, but they were able to rebound with a 1-0 road win two nights later against the Ottawa Senators. They've been off since then, while the Flyers lost 5-2 in Toronto on Monday.

The Jets will welcome defenseman Dustin Byfuglien back to the lineup against the Flyers after a five-game absence with an undisclosed injury. Byfuglien will reunite with defense partner Tobias Enstrom, whose two goals and 11 assists tie him for the NHL lead in scoring among defensemen. Winnipeg also anticipates the imminent return of Zach Bogosian to its blue line. Bogosian has not played this season after offseason wrist surgery.

Jets coach Claude Noel would not confirm his defensive mix, but it is expected Grant Clitsome will be a healthy scratch to make room for Byfuglien.

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens