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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:20 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Lightning's Stamkos keeps sights set on Olympics

WINNIPEG -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos faces one final obstacle in his bid to represent Canada at the Sochi Olympics in February.

The 23-year-old center broke his right tibia after crashing into the net in a road game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, and the injury has cost him 25 games. Despite the injury, Hockey Canada named Stamkos to their Olympic team for the first time. Stamkos has scored 14 goals in his 17 games with the Lightning this season and would be a first-time Olympian.

"You're on the team right now," Stamkos said after participating in the Lightning's optional morning skate before their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. "That really doesn't mean anything if I can't get back and play. This is a dream come true to be named to the team, but I still have a hard work ahead of me in order to make sure I can play."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 1:54 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning look to finish trip on positive note

WINNIPEG -- The Tampa Bay Lightning wrap a four-game trip through Western Canada when they meet the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre, but they will do so without goaltender Ben Bishop.

The Lightning are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, a span that has seen them allow 20 goals. Five of those goals-against came in a 5-3 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

Bishop, who exited the game at Edmonton with a right hand injury, will not dress for the Lightning against Winnipeg. His status for the Lightning remains undetermined and coach Jon Cooper indicated he will know more about Bishop's status when the Lightning return home.

The Lightning recalled goaltender Cedrick Desjardins from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League to back up Anders Lindback.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres looking to duplicate success against Jets

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets will attempt to avoid duplicating a hard-learned lesson when they meet the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at MTS Centre.

The Sabres dealt the Jets a 4-2 defeat two weeks ago in Buffalo. The loss extended a pattern for the Jets of losing to teams placed well below them in the overall League standings.

However, that game in Buffalo sparked a surge for the Sabres (11-24-4), who have gone 3-1-1 since the win against the Jets and have defeated the Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes and Washington Capitals.

The trip into Winnipeg begins a two-game road trip for the Sabres, who conducted an optional morning skate at MTS Centre, but they intend to duplicate the composed, structured game that they played against the Jets earlier this month.

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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 3:35 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild, minus Parise, look to snap skid

WINNIPEG -- Two struggling teams resume their schedule Friday when the Minnesota Wild make a return appearance to MTS Centre to face the Winnipeg Jets.

The Wild have lost three consecutive games and five of their past seven. In facing Winnipeg the Wild will conclude a stretch of seven road dates in their past eight games, a stretch that has seen them win one game away from home. Even with a three-day break to refresh, the Wild's 6-11-3 road record has left the team eager to begin remedying it.

"I think that if you're struggling a bit you just want to get back at it as fast as you can," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said.

Wild coach Mike Yeo again will be without left wing Zach Parise (lower body), who will miss his second consecutive game. Defenseman Clayton Stoner (lower body) also will not dress. Goaltender Josh Harding remains on injured reserve but participated in the team's morning skate Friday. Yeo indicated he was pleased with Harding's showing.

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Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 3:21 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets focused on ending home skid as Panthers visit

WINNIPEG -- The team that played a role in triggering the Winnipeg Jets' latest slump makes a return appearance Friday at MTS Centre.

The Florida Panthers, who beat the Jets 5-2 at BB&T Center on Dec. 5, arrived from Ottawa at 3 a.m. Friday looking to move their winning streak to six games when they play the struggling Jets.

The Panthers’ early-morning arrival meant they did not hold a morning skate at MTS Centre. Florida is on a 7-1-0 run after a 4-2 come-from-behind win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. A four-game Canadian road trip ends here before the Panthers return home for a five-game homestand. The five-game winning streak is their longest since March 2012.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 3:06 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche look to stay even-keeled, end slump

WINNIPEG -- The Colorado Avalanche arrived in Winnipeg on Wednesday lugging what passes for a slump in their turnaround season as they prepare to meet the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Fresh off a 3-1 home loss against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, the Avalanche own a two-game winless streak and have lost three of their past four games, scoring seven goals in that period.

Scoring has been an issue for the Avalanche lately. Captain and leading scorer Gabriel Landeskoghas two goals and four assists in his past nine games. Center Matt Duchene, the team’s second-leading scorer with 21 points, has one assist in his seven games since returning from an oblique injury that caused him to miss three games.

"We've been struggling offensively," Duchene said after the morning skate. "We've got a lot of guys not scoring now. Every team goes through that at some point in the season."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 3:16 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues looking for better starts

WINNIPEG -- While the Winnipeg Jets' three-game homestand needs a good start Tuesday, it will be the visiting St. Louis Blues looking to reverse a trend of poor first-period showings.

The Blues visit Winnipeg fresh off a 5-2 loss Saturday to the Anaheim Ducks in which they allowed three goals in the opening seven minutes. In a stretch of three losses in the past four games, opponents have outscored the Blues in the first period 9-1.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock put his team through practice Monday before departing for Winnipeg and saw a similar pattern play out.

"[Monday] was a slow start and a great finish," Hitchcock said with a chuckle after the team's morning skate Tuesday. "Kind of like our games. I think for us we just have to play the right way earlier and not dig ourselves a hole. I think every team goes through these lulls. Ours seem to be in the first period.

"But I think we won't have a choice with Winnipeg having a first game back after such a long break and the fans the way they are here. They're going to be engaged at the start, so I don't think we have any choice but to get engaged here."


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Posted On Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hossa returning to Blackhawks' lineup

WINNIPEG -- A pair of Central Division teams looking to find their games will meet Thursday when the Winnipeg Jets host the Chicago Blackhawks.

A rare slump accompanies the Blackhawks, who have lost two of their past three games, into MTS Centre. Opponents have outscored the Blackhawks 12-3 in those two losses, and Chicago is on a season-high seven-game road trip that began with a 5-1 loss Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"[We are forgetting] about it," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said of the Blackhawks' recent struggles. "We're looking at the [past] two road games. We weren't so hot obviously. We've given up quite a few goals.

"But I think the [cause of those problems] is pretty clear. We've just got to be a little smart defensively, a little bit more committed to what we have to do in our own zone. We'll be looking to bounce back. We want to start this road trip the right way so we need to make up for what we didn't accomplish in the [past game]."

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Posted On Monday, 11.18.2013 / 4:04 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames in Winnipeg 'desperate' for a win

WINNIPEG -- Two teams that need some good fortune will meet Monday when the Calgary Flames make their first-ever visit to MTS Centre to play the Winnipeg Jets.

The Flames are fresh off a 4-2 home loss this past Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers in which they lost a 2-0 second-intermission lead against their provincial rival. Flames coach Bob Hartley, who coached the Winnipeg franchise for parts of five seasons when it was based in Atlanta, criticized his team after the loss, but sounded a different tone after the team's morning skate at MTS Centre.

"It's the beauty and the challenge of this game at the same time," Hartley said. "You can't sit on a loss or a win too long. You have to bounce back. Obviously we know what we did right and did wrong on Saturday, and we move on."


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Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 4:04 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers, Jets hope to keep solid play going

WINNIPEG -- The Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets will see similar opponents when they meet Friday at MTS Centre.

Both teams have used three-game winning streaks to revive seasons that had been in danger of unraveling after slow starts. The Flyers won 2-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and will wrap their three-game road trip against a Winnipeg Jets team that beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday.

"We have to be ready to go," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Philly has got the same mojo that we have so they're going to be wanting to go as well."

Philadelphia has used a 6-3-1 run to move back into the Eastern Conference pack after a 1-7-0 start.

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Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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