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Jets likely to start Montoya against Penguins

Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 1:54 PM | Chris Adamski  - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Based on a report from the Winnipeg Sun and observations at the morning skate, it appears the Winnipeg Jets will go with backup goaltender Al Montoya over Ondrej Pavelec in Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a move likely based on past history at Consol Energy Center.

Pavelec has allowed a total of three goals in winning the past two games, but last season he allowed 13 goals in 4 1/2 periods at Consol in losses to the Penguins. He is 0-4-0 with a 5.95 goals-against average in the 3-year-old facility.

The projected lines and defense pairings for Thursday night's game:

JETS

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Olli Jokinen - Antti Miettinen

Chris Thorburn - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood

Patrice Cormier - Alex Burmistrov - Eric Tangradi

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Grant Clitsome - Zach Bogosian

Derek Meech - Ron Hainsey

Al Montoya

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Arturs Kulda, Paul Postma

Injured: Mark Stuart (undisclosed)

PENGUINS

Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyPascal Dupuis

Brenden MorrowEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Matt Cooke - Brandon SutterTyler Kennedy

Tanner GlassJoe VitaleCraig Adams

Brooks OrpikPaul Martin

Douglas MurrayMatt Niskanen

Deryk EngellandMark Eaton

Tomas Vokoun

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Kris Letang (lower body)

Scratched: Beau Bennett, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Dustin Jeffrey

Although nothing is official -- and the Penguins have been prone to surprises all season long -- signs point to Malkin playing for the first time in 10 games. He was centering Morrow and Neal during the morning skate. Should Malkin return, he would need to be activated off of injured reserve and a roster spot would need cleared for him. General manager Ray Shero said Thursday the Penguins would not expose any players to waivers this week, meaning that -- barring a trade or new injury -- rookies Bennett and Despres are the only options to be reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the American Hockey League.

If Malkin returns, either Vitale, Jeffrey or Bennett will center the fourth line. With Murray making his Penguins debut, Despres might be the odd man out, even if he's not sent to Wilkes-Barre. Bortuzzo is unavailable on a conditioning assignment in the AHL.

Fleury was knocked out of the most recent game because of an upper-body injury but took part in the skate and will be the backup Thursday, barring a setback. Vokoun had already been scheduled to start the game.

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