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.
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