WINNIPEG – The big games continue to pile up for the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets (34-29-8) will play host to the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at MTS Centre and continue their bid to overtake the Washington Capitals for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Jets must also fight off the Buffalo Sabres, with whom they are tied at 76 points. After tonight, the Capitals, Sabres and Jets will all have played 72 games.
Winnipeg has won its past four outings on home ice and fended off a stubborn Washington club in a 3-2 win at MTS Centre two nights earlier. A three-game, Pittsburgh-Washington-Nashville road trip this week looms for the Jets, who have endured road struggles all season. Winnipeg will play seven of its last 10 games away from home after tonight.
The Jets will welcome Zach Bogosian back to their blue line. Bogosian has missed 12 of the club’s past 13 games with nagging health problems. Bogosian’s return means that Randy Jones is a candidate to sit out tonight.
Winnipeg will also again audition a new right wing on their checking line with Tanner Glass and Jim Slater. Eric Fehr, who played two games in place of the injured Chris Thorburn, was banged up against the Capitals and will not play tonight. Winnipeg recalled Spencer Machacek from their AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps, to replace Fehr.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start again in net for Winnipeg, with Chris Mason backing up. Pavelec has started 11 of the Jets’ past 12 games.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Jets:
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane – Alexander Burmistrov – Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass – Jim Slater – Spencer Machacek
Tim Stapleton – Nik Antropov – Antti Miettinen
Tobias Enstrom – Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey – Grant Clitsome
Mark Stuart – Zach Bogosian