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At the Rink blog

Successful trip complete, Jets focus on home record

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 2:04 PM

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

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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."

Andrew Ladd's eight goals in 12 games in February and an eight-game scoring streak for Evander Kane have powered an offense that struggled earlier in the season. After scoring two goals in 16 games, center Olli Jokinen has three over his past three outings.

Winnipeg remains without injured defensemen Tobias Enstrom and Zach Redmond, but goaltender Al Montoya has returned from injury to back up starter Ondrej Pavelec. A start against the Devils will move Pavelec past Kari Lehtonen into the franchise lead with 205 games played.

Here are the possible line combinations for the Jets:

Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Evander KaneNikolai AntropovAlexander Burmistrov

James WrightOlli JokinenAnthony Peluso

Eric TangradiJim SlaterChris Thorburn

Grant ClitsomeDustin Byfuglien

Ron HainseyZach Bogosian

Mark StuartPaul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Injured: Tobias Enstrom, Antti Miettinen, Zach Redmond

Scratched: Derek Meech, Kyle Wellwood

Quote of the Day

It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

— Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on what he expects from the fans in Calgary for Game 6