PHILADELPHIA -- The Winnipeg Jets returned to the ice Monday afternoon with a spirited practice in Philadelphia that stretched nearly two hours.
The Jets (22-22-6), who have lost three consecutive games, will face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Jets have taken both meetings against Philadelphia this season and have scored a combined 15 goals in the two contests.
However, a dreadful 3-8-1 January record threatens to doom the club's playoff chances, and the Jets desperately need to start amassing wins if they are to close the five-point gap that separates them from the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. The Panthers and Capitals both hold two games in-hand on the Jets, as well.
"It's down to business now," center Bryan Little said of the Jets' remaining 32 games.
The Jets play seven of their next nine games away from home before they begin an eight-game homestand in the second half of February. Coach Claude Noel cut short the club's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center after his club pleased him with a crisp session.
"I thought the energy was pretty good this morning," Noel said. "Certainly the execution was better than it was yesterday."
Noel expects to see a refreshed Jets team and believes that the All-Star break allowed some of this charges to re-evaluate their recent play and re-focus going forward.
"It will be interesting to see where we're at mentally, physically and how we go," Noel said.
Winnipeg will be without forwards Evander Kane, Alexander Burmistrov and Tim Stapleton. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, out since Dec. 23 with a knee injury, accompanied the club on its trip that will continue Thursday night at Tampa Bay.
Winnipeg also added some reinforcements from their AHL affiliate St. John’s in forwards Aaron Gagnon and Spencer Machacek.
Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in net.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Eric Fehr - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Antti Miettinen - Aaron Gagnon - Spencer Machacek
Tobias Enstrom - Ron Hainsey
Johnny Oduya - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones