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Posted On Friday, 03.22.2013 / 1:20 PM

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

Holtby, Pavelec back in net for Capitals-Jets rematch

WINNIPEG – The Washington Capitals’ season is still on the line Friday evening when they face the Winnipeg Jets for the second consecutive night at MTS Centre.

But the Capitals (13-16-1) bought themselves some breathing room after shutting out the Jets 4-0 Thursday night to move themselves five points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Winnipeg (16-13-2) did not hold a morning skate at MTS Centre, and the Capitals’ optional skate had five players.

Capitals coach Adam Oates will return to Braden Holtby in net one night after he shut out the Jets for the second time this month in Winnipeg. Oates said he will dress the same lineup that featured the return of defenseman Mike Green from a 10-game injury absence. The Capitals also reportedly placed right wing Joey Crabb on waivers to alleviate a roster glut.

The Jets will again turn to goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who will start his 10th consecutive game. Winnipeg’s blue line was dealt another injury blow Thursday when a heavy third-period hit from Alex Ovechkin ended Mark Stuart’s evening. Jets coach Claude Noel described Stuart as “banged up” and termed him a game-time decision. Noel also said he may tinker with his lineup.

Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Jets for the game Friday:

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Posted On Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 2:16 PM

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

Green a game-time decision for Capitals

WINNIPEG -- The Washington Capitals’ season may be on the line Thursday when they meet the Winnipeg Jets for the first of a pair of games at MTS Centre.

The Capitals (12-16-1) sit seven points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot and face a pair of nearly must-win games if they are to remain in contention. But a Washington blue line missing four regulars could regain Mike Green's services against Winnipeg. Green, who has missed 10 consecutive games with a groin injury, participated in the Capitals' morning skate, but Washington coach Adam Oates labeled him a "game-time decision."

Braden Holtby will make his third consecutive start in goal for the Capitals after a 36-save performance Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-1 loss that Oates termed "probably the best game all year."

Jets coach Claude Noel will start Ondrej Pavelec in goal for the eighth straight game.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 2:40 PM

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

Jets continue playoff push against Bruins

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets will look to continue their push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they meet the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at MTS Centre.

Both teams will return to action after shuffling their rosters Monday. The Bruins rolled into Winnipeg for a meeting with the Jets after sustaining a rare blemish to their 9-3-2 road record Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 2:09 PM

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

Hamrlik back in on Rangers' blue line

WINNIPEG -- The New York Rangers (13-10-2) held a lively practice Wednesday after the team's arrival here in preparation for a date Thursday with the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Eighth-place in the Eastern Conference is at stake for the clubs, who each have 28 points.

Roman Hamrlik likely will return to the Rangers' defensive rotation after a two-game absence, replacing Matt Gilroy. Defenseman Marc Staal remains injured and will miss his fifth consecutive game, leaving the Rangers to look for help to ease some of the burden on their blue line's top four.

"It's crucial that someone steps up in the five-six spot," coach John Tortorella said. "When you lose a guy like Marc Staal, and we have guys playing minutes that they're not used to playing, we'd really like to get a rotation of six [defensemen] playing. But we also have to try to win each game, so that's where we're making the call on the bench. We have a few guys looking to take that spot."

Forward Arron Asham participated in practice Wednesday, but is not expected to return to the Rangers' lineup against the Jets.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the eighth time in the team's past nine contests.

Here is the Rangers' possible lineup:

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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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Quote of the Day

Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me. I know they want to see me get better as a player and this is the place to do it.

— Zac Rinaldo to the Flyers website on signing a two-year contract extension with Philadelphia