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GAME DAY: Jets visit Avs to wrap up road trip

2:00pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

Video: JetsTV Road Report

DENVER, CO - Fresh off earning their first three-game win streak of the season in Dallas, the Winnipeg Jets are focused on extending that streak on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche.

At 13-33-2, the Avalanche sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and are winless (0-7-2) in their last nine games. But Bryan Little, who opened the scoring in the 4-3 win over the Stars Thursday, said the Jets can't change their approach from the last two games, where they've battled teams in the playoff race.

"I think you almost don't worry about who you're playing, and try to worry about what we can control and how we come out," said Little. "I don't think anyone is going to take a game lightly right now. I fully expect us to be ready to play tomorrow and be as good as we can be.

"It's that time of year where we want to get something rolling right now."

Video: PRACTICE | Bryan Little

Head coach Paul Maurice agrees, and says Winnipeg's match ups with Colorado have been more of a "grinder" style compared to games against teams like the Stars. Case in point, two of the three meetings with the Avalanche have been decided by one goal.

"You put that line-up on the wall, they have good players. They're looking for anything to get excited about, and any kind of hope in the game," Maurice said. "So we have to be right from the drop of the puck. All the games in my memory are all tight games, lots of overtime games. It'll be a hard, physical battle."

After getting Mathieu Perreault back from a broken finger Thursday, the Jets could also get another veteran back in the line-up on Saturday. Drew Stafford has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury, but Maurice says the 31-year-old will be a game time decision in the road trip finale.

"He's had a couple of real good pushes the last two games, we'll see how he's feeling after, and make sure nothing changes," Maurice said. "Then we'll make a decision tomorrow for him going in."

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

The 2 pm CT puck drop prevents Stafford from having the benefit of a pre-game skate, but he said handling today's chilly 25-minute skate in Colorado was a sign to him that he's ready to return.

"We'll see how it responds the rest of the day today," Stafford said. "So far, so good…. Today is a pretty nice indication, practicing in a rink that's about minus 30. So to stay warm and feel like I'm moving pretty good."

It's not the first time this season that Stafford has missed time. He was out 15 games in a 28-day period early in the season with a concussion.

"It threw me for a loop there for a while. It was tough to get in the groove," he said.

Stafford was moved into a top six role while Patrik Laine was out with his concussion, and posted six points in seven games, before suffering his current lower body ailment.

He said while it was unfortunate not to have Laine in the line-up, playing that more offensive role helped Stafford find a bit of a groove after missing so much time earlier in the season.

Video: PRACTICE | Drew Stafford

"For me to get a chance to play back in the top six and more of an offensive role, I was feeling pretty good and putting up some points, and making plays, contributing on the score sheet offensively," said Stafford. "This little bit of a minor setback knocked me back out.

"All excuses aside, we've got plenty of time left, and it's exciting to be part of a team in a playoff push."

After his 39 save performance in Dallas, Ondrej Pavelec will get his third straight start on Saturday afternoon, while Calvin Pickard gets the call for the Avalanche.

"He came in and made saves in critical times. We've seen him in the past get into that kind of groove. He won us the game (Thursday) night," Maurice said. "You ask your goalie at the end of the day to try and be better than the guy at the other end. That gives you a chance to win - and he was."

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Today's Game

The Winnipeg Jets finish a four-game road trip today against the Colorado Avalanche in Winnipeg's third and final visit to Pepsi Center this season…The Jets defeated the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Thursday to run their winning streak to three games…Mark Scheifele (2g), Nikolaj Ehlers (1g, 1a) and Patrik Laine (2a) each had a pair of points to lead the Jets over the Stars, while Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves to earn the win…Colorado enters tomorrow's game winless in their last nine games…Following tomorrow's game, the Jets begin a four-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Central Success

The Jets are 13-4-1 against Central Division teams this season, including 7-4-1 on the road…The Jets have won six in a row on the road against the Central Division…Tonight is fourth of six straight games the Jets play against Central Division teams (3-0-0)…In the month of February, Winnipeg plays seven of its 11 games within the Central Division…Overall, the Jets have won nine straight games against Central Division teams.

That's Three!

Thursday's win in Dallas gave the Jets their first three-game winning streak of the season…The Jets are now 2-17-2 during the last two seasons in games when they can win three in a row…Winnipeg had previously notched back-to-back wins nine times before winning three in a row…The Jets last four-game winning streak was the final four games of last season…Since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011, the Jets are 7-6-4 in games when they can extend a winning streak to four games.

Special Teams Notes

- The Jets have played 33:19 more on the power play than on the penalty kill at home this season, but have played 47:52 more on the penalty kill than on the power play on the road.
- The Jets have been shorthanded 65 times in the third period this season, which is the most in the league.
- The Jets have given up a league high 295 shots when shorthanded this season.
- Winnipeg has scored a power play goal in three straight games (3-for-8).
- The Jets have allowed one power play goal in seven of their last eight games and nine of their last 11 games.

Good to Have Goals

Mark Scheifele scored twice against Dallas on Thursday to increase his goal total on the season to 25, which is tied for third in the NHL…He has scored 12 goals in 16 games against Central Division teams, which is tied for second in the NHL for most goals scored in games against divisional opponents…Scheifele is also third in the NHL with 19 even strength goals and 14 road goals…For the second time this season, he has scored in three straight games - Nov. 4-8 (4g) was the other occasion…Scheifele needs five more goals to surpass the career high 29 goals he scored last season.

The Young 40 Club

Of the 37 players in the NHL to reach 40 points so far this season, four are members of the Jets - Mark Scheifele (53 pts), Nikolaj Ehlers (47 pts), Blake Wheeler (45 pts) and Patrik Laine (43 pts)…The Jets are the only team in the NHL to have four players with more than 40 points this season…Winnipeg is also the only team to have two players age 20 or younger (Ehlers and Laine) with more than 40 points this season.

Make it 8

Rookie Patrik Laine registered two assists Thursday against Dallas to extend his point streak to eight games (4g, 9a)…It's the longest scoring streak by a member of the Jets this season…With 43 points (23g, 20a) in 46 games, Laine leads all NHL rookies in scoring…He also leads all NHL rookies with eight power play goals and NHL rookie forwards with a plus-10 rating.

Team Quick Hits

- Bryan Little is on an seven-game point streak (7g, 4a) and has seven goals in his last seven games.
- Dating back to last season, Ondrej Pavelec is 9-2-2 with a .909 save percentage in his last 13 games for the Jets.
- Toby Enstrom blocked eight shots Thursday against Dallas, which is tied for the third most shots blocked in a game in the NHL this season.
- Jacob Trouba has blocked 11 shots in his last four games and leads the Jets this season with an average of two blocked shots per game.
 
Jets vs. Avalanche All-Time Records

Overall: 18-9-8
At Pepsi Center: 9-4-5

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