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Posted On Monday, 12.26.2011 / 4:40 PM

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

Jets prepare to head out for rare road game

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets held a Boxing Day morning practice session before doing something they have not done very often lately -- packing their bags and heading to the airport for a road game.

The Jets will visit the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night in what will be only their second game away from the MTS Centre since Nov. 26. The Jets' only foray out of town was a quick one-night trip to Detroit on Dec. 10 in which the Red Wings throttled them, 7-1, at Joe Louis Arena.

Coach Claude Noel's club will finish December having played 12 of 14 games on home ice in the month. The Jets have been able to fuel their climb up the Eastern Conference standings via that abundance of home ice in front of the always-raucous MTS Centre crowd. The Jets have posted a 7-3-1 December mark so far. Included in those seven wins have been home wins over the likes of Phoenix, Boston and Minnesota. Only Boston, Detroit and St. Louis (13 wins apiece) have been more successful on home ice this season than the 12-6-1 Jets.

But the road has been a struggle for the Jets, who are 4-8-4 entering Tuesday. Only Anaheim, Carolina and Columbus have fewer road wins. The Jets will need to rectify their road problems, as they face a January slate in which they will play nine of 13 games away from Winnipeg, with the likes of Boston, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia serving as hosts.

Since posting back-to-back road wins over the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders during a seven-game road swing that spanned late October and early November, the Jets are just 1-4-3 away from home. Their only road win in that span came against Carolina just three days before the Hurricanes fired coach Paul Maurice.

Paying a visit to the Pepsi Center will serve as a test drive of sorts for the Jets in re-accustoming themselves to life on the road before they take on their road-heavy January slate. The Jets could also benefit from the Avalanche playing at Minnesota tonight. But they will have to deal with a Colorado team that owns the second-longest home win streak in the NHL this season at eight games.

"It will be good for us to get on the road," Noel said, "and hopefully get a road win and stop (Colorado's) streak and for us to play on the road and get some wins. It will be a back-to-back night for them, so hopefully we can take advantage of that."

Noel is making it a point to stress the need to build momentum on the road, where the Jets are not able to draw upon the energy of their home crowd.

"It will be good to get away," Noel said. "For us, we have to start winning some games on the road. If you're going to be a playoff-contending team, which we hope to be, I think you have to start getting to .500 on the road, and that has to be our next goal.

"We've managed to do well here at home," Noel continued. "We've managed to really make some hay, as I said before, while we could, but it's time to get our road record going. We've got a ways to go to get to .500, so it will be a good challenge. We're playing better in the general sense of things, so it will be good."

Skating in high-altitude Denver presents another challenge to the Jets. Forwards Nik Antropov and Blake Wheeler acknowledged that the schedule sending them to Denver immediately after a break is not ideal. Short shifts and jumping on a Colorado team playing on back-to-back nights will be critical.

"It could be a real issue," Noel acknowledged. "If you get stuck on long shifts, you could really have a hard time. You've got to go 30-, 35-, 40-second shifts and get the change, because if you get stuck, your recovery really hits the wall, so it's really tough. It's an advantage to them because they're used to it."
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Posted On Friday, 12.23.2011 / 2:04 PM

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

Projected lineups for Penguins, Jets

WINNIPEG -- Here are the projected lines and pairings for Pittsburgh and Winnipeg.

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan - Joe Vitale - Arron Asham
Jason Williams - Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams
 
Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen
Zbynek Michalek - Paul Martin
Simon Despres - Ben Lovejoy
 
Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

JETS
Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Antti Miettinen
Eric Fehr - Tim Stapleton - Chris Thorburn

Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien - Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey - Johnny Oduya

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
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Posted On Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 2:06 PM

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

Canadiens looking to snap four-game skid

WINNIPEG -- The Montreal Canadiens arrived in Winnipeg a reeling club as they prepare to meet the Jets.

Lugging a four-game losing streak and a controversial coaching change, the Canadiens (13-15-7) have slipped to 12th place in the Eastern Conference and are in the midst of a six-game road trip. The last time the Canadiens were in Winnipeg was in October for the Jets' season-opener at the MTS Centre. That afternoon, the Canadiens spoiled the event for Jets fans in handing Winnipeg a 5-1 defeat.

After a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, new interim coach Randy Cunneyworth is 0-3 behind the Montreal bench since taking over for Jacques Martin.

Injury woes also plague the Canadiens. The Canadiens had 236 man-games lost in the 2010-11 season, but already have lost 179 man-games just 35 games into this season. Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez are both out with lower-body injuries, and defenseman Andrei Markov (knee) has yet to play this season.

Carey Price will start for the Canadiens. Price made 31 saves against the Jets in the game on Oct. 9.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Montreal:

CANADIENS
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Travis Moen
Andrei Kostitsyn - Lars Eller - Louis Leblanc
Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Mike Blunden

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Tomas Kaberle - Chris Campoli

Carey Price
Peter Budaj
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Posted On Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 1:34 PM

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

Jets look for solid 60-minute effort vs. Habs

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets' home-heavy December slate continues tonight at the MTS Centre when the Montreal Canadiens visit.

The Jets, 6-2-1 this month, will play for the 10th time at home over their past 11 games tonight in the first of back-to-back home dates this week. Though the Jets have beaten the likes of the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild at home this month, they also dropped a 3-2 shootout decision on Tuesday night to a New York Islanders club that ranked 14th in the Eastern Conference entering the game.

"We're going to have to play a solid 60-minute game," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "We're going to have to get to [Montreal starting goaltender Carey] Price. We're going to have to get way more traffic at the net. We're going to have to get more shots through to the net."

The Jets will again go without first-line center Bryan Little, who will miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury.

Ondrej Pavelec will again start in net for Winnipeg, his 29th start of the season.

"Energy's going to be a huge part of the game tonight," Pavelec said. "We have to play right away and all 60 minutes. It's going to be about us. How are we going to show up, and how are we going to play?"

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:

JETS

Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Antti Miettinen
Chris Thorburn - Tim Stapleton - Eric Fehr

Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien - Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey - Johnny Oduya

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 2:25 PM

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

Islanders look to keep up recent road success

WINNIPEG -- The New York Islanders continue their three-game road swing tonight in Winnipeg.

The Islanders (10-14-6) have struggled away from home and have the fewest road points in the Eastern Conference. But a 2-1 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild ended a four-game winless streak, and all four of the Islanders' road wins this season have come over their previous six games away from home. The Islanders have scored first in each of those past six road games.

The Islanders welcomed back injured defenseman Andy MacDonald against Minnesota, but still have a long list of injured players. Veteran forwards Jay Pandolfo (foot) and Brian Rolston (concussion) are out, as are defensemen Mark Eaton (knee) and Steve Staios (concussion) and goaltender Rick DiPietro (groin).

"We know the situation we're in," coach Jack Capuano said. "It's going to take 60 minutes, shift-by-shift."

Travis Hamonic, a native of nearby St. Malo, Man. expects to have nearly 100 family members and friends in attendance to see his Winnipeg debut.

Al Montoya is expected to start for the Islanders after holding the Wild to one goal in Saturday’s win.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Islanders.

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Tim Wallace
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter
 
Mark Streit - Milan Jurcina
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Dylan Reese - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya
Evgeni Nabokov
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 2:12 PM

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

Little out for Jets against Islanders

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets needed a rest after a 5-3 win Saturday against a very physical Anaheim Ducks team.

The Jets (15-13-4) took Sunday off and skated Monday in preparation for a game tonight against the New York Islanders, another opponent capable of delivering a physical game. The Jets, who play three home games in four nights this holiday week, have won of nine of their past 11 games at the MTS Centre and continue their December run of 12 of 14 games at home.

While the Jets have been able to spend all but one day at home during the past 23 days, coach Claude Noel’s club continues to endure injury problems.

The Jets have regained Tobias Enstrom and Ron Hainsey on their blue line during the past week – plus forwards Nikolai Antropov and Alexander Burmistrov – but they face another major hit to their lineup.

Center Bryan Little, whose offensive resurgence keyed Winnipeg’s success during the past month, will miss his first game of the season tonight with a lower-body injury after being hit by a shot Saturday night. Little’s absence forced center Jim Slater to take a career-high 30 draws against the Ducks.

Antti Miettinen, acquired via waivers last week, will make his Jets debut on Winnipeg’s third line as Noel must continue to juggle his line-up because of injuries. The addition of Miettinen resulted in the Jets returning left wing Jason Jaffray to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.

Ondrej Pavelec will return to the Winnipeg net after Chris Mason gave him a night off Saturday night.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:

Evander KaneAlexander BurmistrovBlake Wheeler
Andrew LaddNik AntropovKyle Wellwood
Tanner GlassJim SlaterAntti Miettinen
Chris ThorburnTim StapletonEric Fehr

Mark StuartZach Bogosian
Ron HainseyJohnny Oduya
Dustin ByfuglienTobias Enstrom

Chris Mason
Ondrej Pavelec
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Posted On Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 2:07 PM

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

Projected lineup for Ducks

WINNIPEG – The Anaheim Ducks arrived in Winnipeg early Saturday morning after a 4-1 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Ducks’ (9-17-5) late arrival meant that they did not hold a morning skate prior to the game tonight with the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Teemu Selanne’s seven-game point streak is the longest such active streak in the League, but the Ducks continue to struggle on the road. The Ducks have lost four straight games away from Honda Center and are just 3-6-1 in their past 10 games.

Center Saku Koivu has missed three consecutive games with a lower-body injury and remains on Injured Reserve. On Friday, the Ducks recalled center Nick Bonino from the American League in place of fellow center Brandon McMillan. Left wing Jason Blake and defenseman Matt Smaby are sidelined with long-term injuries.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Anaheim:

DUCKS

Niklas Hagman - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Bobby Ryan - Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Gordon - Maxime Macenauer - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Toni Lydman - Lubomir Visnovsky
Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Dan Ellis
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Posted On Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 1:44 PM

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

Jets could play second fiddle to Selanne

WINNIPEG – For one day only, the Winnipeg Jets might have to step away from the spotlight in their own city.

Teemu Selanne’s return to the city has made the Jets’ date tonight at MTS Centre with the Anaheim Ducks the most difficult ticket of the season since Winnipeg’s season-opening game on Oct. 9.

But the Jets (14-13-4) have a game to play, Selanne excitement notwithstanding, as they look to redeem themselves after a loss Thursday night to the Washington Capitals. The loss, the first time a visiting team has shut out the Jets at home this season, ended the Jets’ five-game home winning streak and left coach Claude Noel extremely frustrated.

Chris Mason is expected to start in net tonight for the Jets. In Mason’s most recent start, he beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, at MTS Centre on Dec. 9.

The Jets sent right wing Carl Klingberg back to their American League affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps, on Friday. Waiver-wire acquisition Antti Miettinen will not dress for the Jets tonight as he acclimates himself to the Jets after a long journey this week from Finland, but the Jets will have other reinforcements available.

Defenseman Tobias Enstrom is expected to dress for the first time since he broke his collarbone Oct. 31 at Florida. The injury has cost Enstrom 20 games, and his return would be another boost to a Winnipeg blue line that also regained the services of Ron Hainsey this week.

The status of forwards Nikolai Antropov and Alexander Burmistrov remains murky for tonight.

Here is the projected lineup for Winnipeg:

JETS

Evander KaneBryan LittleBlake Wheeler
Andrew LaddKyle WellwoodEric Fehr
Tanner GlassJim SlaterChris Thorburn
Jason JaffrayTim Stapleton

Mark StuartZach Bogosian
Johnny OduyaDustin Byfuglien
Ron HainseyTobias Enstrom
Mark Flood

Chris Mason
Ondrej Pavelec
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Posted On Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 1:34 PM

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

Selanne disappointed Carlyle can't share in reunion

WINNIPEG – Teemu Selanne will have his family and plenty of old friends on hand when he makes his NHL return to Winnipeg on Saturday night.

But one figure who will not be with Selanne is Randy Carlyle, his former Winnipeg Jets teammate and Anaheim Ducks coach.

Selanne’s 1992-93 rookie season and Carlyle’s final season with the Jets began a relationship that continued nearly 20 years later in Anaheim. But the Ducks’ struggles this season cost Carlyle his coaching job and denied the pair an opportunity to return to Winnipeg together.

Carlyle and Selanne had long ago circled the Ducks-Jets game on their calendars.

“We were both very excited. I feel very sorry that he can’t be here today as a coach,” Selanne said.

After Selanne spent the 2003-04 season with the Colorado Avalanche, Carlyle helped bring Selanne back to Anaheim despite the sniper’s knee problems. Selanne has since gone on to spend seven seasons with the Ducks, record a pair of 40-goal seasons and win a Stanley Cup in 2007.

“He believed that I could still play well,” Selanne said of his former teammate-turned-coach. “I’m very thankful to him for that. It’s too bad that he’s not here.”
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Posted On Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 1:30 PM

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

Selanne reflects on famous goal, celebration

WINNIPEG – Teemu Selanne scored 76 times during the 1992-93 season, but no goal is more remembered than his 54th tally.

That goal on March 2, 1993, against the Quebec Nordiques broke Mike Bossy’s previous rookie record of 53 in one season and has been shown countless times in replays during  the past 18 years.

“The whole year was unbelievable,” Selanne said Saturday morning. “I could never have expected that I would have scored 76 goals in my first year.”

Selanne celebrated that goal by tossing his glove in the air and pretending to shoot it out of the air with his stick before racing to teammate Dallas Eakins.

“The older I get,” Selanne admitted, “I almost feel a little embarrassed that I did that. But I was so pumped, and it was so special for me.”

“I remember that building when it happened – it was just rocking.”
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Quote of the Day

As a player, it's obviously a sad day, but to be on the ice with some of those guys and show our respect as both teams did around center ice, it's definitely a nice touch.

— New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson on the ceremony to honor the fallen Canadian soldiers before the game Saturday in Ottawa
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