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At the Rink blog

Jets return home needing to collect points

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 2:42 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Jets return home needing to collect points
WINNIPEG -- Which Winnipeg Jets team will show up when the Buffalo Sabres visit the MTS Centre tonight remains to be seen.

Will it be the Jets club that spun off a 10-3-1 record in December, with nine of those wins coming on home ice? Or will it be the team that owns a 2-6-0 record in January, the most recent loss a dismal 5-1 showing at New Jersey on Tuesday night?

The Jets (21-20-5) sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a playoff spot, and desperately need to collect points at home this week. After tonight's visit from the Sabres, the Florida Panthers visit Winnipeg on Friday before the Jets play eight of their next nine games on the road over the next three weeks.

The Jets received some good news on Thursday with the return of Blake Wheeler to the lineup. Wheeler missed two games after taking a puck to his throat last Saturday at home against New Jersey. Defensemen Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien and Derek Meech all remain out with injuries.

Ondrej Pavelec will return to the Winnipeg net after veteran Chris Mason received consecutive starts on the Jets' two-game road trip through Ottawa and New Jersey.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:

JETS
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Antti Miettinen - Alexander Burmistrov - Eric Fehr

Tobias Enstrom - Ron Hainsey
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones
Johnny Oduya - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
Quote of the Day

He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday
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