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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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Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 3:04 PM

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

Caps seek road win, more production from top line

WINNIPEG -- A 5-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night has the Washington Capitals in need of a win tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Capitals continue their transition under new coach Dale Hunter, but have picked up three wins over their past five games. The road has not treated the Capitals well this season, and the team is 1-7 in its past eight games away from Washington. The Capitals wrap up their two-game road swing on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Capitals' top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin have managed only four combined goals since Hunter took over behind the bench, but Hunter is still encouraged by their play and expects that production will follow.

"They've been getting opportunities," Hunter said. "As long as they keep getting opportunities, good things happen."

The Capitals will do without defenseman Mike Green and forwards Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks against the Jets.

Here are tonight's projected lines and pairings for Washington:

CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Troy Brouwer - Marcus Johansson - Jeff Halpern
Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward
Cody Eakin - Mathieu Perreault - Mike Knuble

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
John Erskine - Dennis Wideman
Dmitry Orlov - Roman Hamrlik

Michal Neuvirth
Tomas Vokoun

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Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 2:10 PM

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

Jets want to keep accumulating home points

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets look to continue to accumulate points tonight when the Washington Capitals are the latest visitor in this month's home-heavy schedule.

The Jets (14-12-4) have won eight of their past nine games at home, including their last five consecutive MTS Centre dates. Only the Detroit Red Wings (9-1-0) and Boston Bruins (8-1-1) have been better than in their past 10 home games than have the Jets (8-2-0). Among those wins was a 4-1 decision over the Capitals at home on Nov. 17. The clubs also met in Washington on Nov. 23, a game the Capitals took in overtime, 4-3.

Winnipeg plays 12 of 14 games at home this month and is in the midst of a six-game homestand. The Jets' recent home success has pushed them to within one point of the eighth-place New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference.

Coach Claude Noel expects that Nik Antropov, who has missed five of the Jets' past six games, will be a game-time decision. Alexander Burmistrov and Randy Jones will miss their second consecutive games with injury. Noel also indicated that defenseman Tobias Enstrom could be ready for action by this weekend. Enstrom has been out since Oct. 31 with a broken collarbone. Waiver-wire addition Antti Miettinen will not dress for the Jets tonight.

Center Bryan Little has anchored the Jets' top line and has goals in four straight games and 17 points (11 goals) in his last 16 contests. Linemates Evander Kane (10-5-15 in his past 13 games) and Blake Wheeler (2-11-13 in his past 12 games) have flanked Little during the Jets' recent run.

The Jets have not faced the Capitals since Washington replaced Bruce Boudreau with Dale Hunter behind the bench. Noel noted that the Capitals have transitioned from a 1-3-1 system to Hunter's 1-2-2 system, but he does not expect a substantially different look from the Capitals.

"They've changed their systems a bit," Noel said. "I don't think Dale is going to come in and re-invent the game and make it confusing."

Here are tonight's projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg.

JETS
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Kyle Wellwood - Eric Fehr
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Tim Stapleton - Carl Klingberg

Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 3:14 PM

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

Jets happy to add Miettinen off waivers

WINNIPEG -- The Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping to add Antti Miettinen to boost their offense, but the Winnipeg Jets claimed him on waivers, the team announced Tuesday.

Miettinen began this season with Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL, but the Lightning signed him to a two-year contract Monday. He had to pass through waivers to be eligible to play for Tampa Bay, but the Jets snared him on Tuesday morning.

"We always said that we would be proactive and take a look at all the options that presented themselves," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "He's shown a lot of versatility in his game. He's a real good character person that can bring a lot to the dressing room and the team."

The 31-year-old Miettinen has 89 goals and 212 points in 472 career NHL games for Dallas and Minnesota. He had 2 goals and 8 points in 20 games in the KHL this season.

The Jets like Miettinen's experience and versatility, particularly for a lineup that remains in need of some additional scoring punch. Nik Antropov and Eric Fehr have battled injuries lately. Miettinen has reached 11 or more goals in each of his past six NHL seasons, and notched 16 goals last season with Minnesota, the second-highest total in his NHL career.

"He adds to our group, which is good," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "I think he fits in our group. He's a smart player, dependable all over the ice. He can finish some. I think he makes us better."

Miettinen and his family remain in Finland, but Cheveldayoff indicated that the Jets are working to bring them to Winnipeg as quickly as possible.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 2:27 PM

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

Jets move on from loss, start long home stretch

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets did not waste any time moving on from a 7-1 loss on Saturday night to the Detroit Red Wings.

"For us, we've moved past that game," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "We weren't happy with it. I don't think anybody enjoyed playing it, watching it, anything."

After suffering their worst loss of the season, the Jets (13-12-4) will be back on MTS Centre ice tonight against the Minnesota Wild, where they have won seven of their last eight home contests, including four wins before their boisterous home crowd. The Jets will play six consecutive games at home and eight of their next nine contests at home this month.

The Jets' lineup also continues to change because of injury. The Jets activated defenseman Ron Hainsey and expect to dress the veteran tonight. Hainsey has played only one game since Oct. 17. The Jets also claimed veteran forward Antti Miettinen off waivers on Tuesday morning, but he is in Finland and not immediately expected to arrive in Winnipeg.

Alexander Burmistrov is not expected to dress because of an undisclosed injury, and Nik Antropov is also expected to be a scratch because of injury after having re-entered the Winnipeg lineup in Detroit. Right wing Eric Fehr remains on injured reserve, as do defensemen Tobias Enstrom and Derek Meech.

"We'll make a game-time decision," Noel said when asked about his lineup, adding that he did not think that he would use any of his defensemen in a forward role for the night.

Here are tonight's projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:

JETS
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Tim Stapleton - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Carl Klingberg

Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Dustin Byfuglien
Randy Jones - Ron Hainsey
Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense