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Bruins aim to rebound from rare loss as they face Jets

by Brian Hunter
JETS (20-16-5) at BRUINS (26-11-1)


Last 10:
Winnipeg 6-3-1; Boston 8-2-0

Season Series:
Third of four meetings, with each team having won once on home ice. Tim Thomas made 40 saves and Chris Kelly scored a pair of goals, one shorthanded, to key the Bruins' 4-2 victory on Nov. 26. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 39 shots and Bryan Little had the tie-breaking goal in the third period as the Jets responded with a 2-1 win on Dec. 6.

Big Story:
The last time these teams met, Winnipeg dealt Boston its first regulation loss in 16 games and over a month's time. The Bruins have lost only three times since, but one of those was Saturday afternoon's Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Canucks. The Jets figure to be dealing with a team in ill humor Tuesday night.

Team Scope:

This is the finale of a four-game road trip for Winnipeg, which will be aiming for a split after dropping the first two. The Jets rebounded to claim an important 2-1 overtime win Saturday in Buffalo, climbing to within a point of the Eastern Conference's top eight in the process. After they yielded the game's first goal, Blake Wheeler converted on a two-man advantage with 4.2 ticks left in the second to tie the score. Pavelec and Jhonas Enroth kept it that way until defenseman Johnny Oduya put a wrist shot from the left circle past the Sabres netminder 57 seconds into the extra period.

"We knew we didn't play well the last two games," Pavelec said. "We responded well and were way better. You're not going to play great all season, but it's always about how you respond and bounce back."

The long-awaited one-and-only matchup of the 2011-12 regular season between Boston and Vancouver saw the Bruins enter having won their previous two games by a combined 15-1 score. But the Canucks had a chip on their shoulders coming into TD Garden, where they were manhandled in losing all three road games of last spring's Final. The Bruins grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals by Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley, but penalties ultimately did them in as they gave up four power-play goals in a 4-3 defeat.

"Every time we started to get momentum we have a power play or a long power play to kill," said Thomas, who stopped 32 shots. "Whether you agree with the calls or not, they were a huge factor in the way the game turned out."

Who's Hot:
Wheeler got right back on the score sheet after having a six-game points streak snapped in the Jets' previous outing. He has 5 goals and 5 assists in his last eight games. … David Krejci also scored for the Bruins on Saturday and now has 5 goals and 7 assists during an eight-game points streak. Tyler Seguin has 2 goals and 4 assists during a four-game points streak. Patrice Bergeron has 4 goals and 2 assists during a three-game points streak.

Injury Report:
Winnipeg forwards Tim Stapleton (flu-like symptoms) and Alexander Burmistrov (undisclosed) practiced Monday, as did defensemen Derek Meech (lower body), who hasn't played since Oct. 20. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) is on injured reserve.

Stat Pack:
Oduya's goal was the 22nd of his 422-game career, and his third in overtime. … Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot has 7 goals this season and 4 are game-winners, tied for the team lead with Seguin.

Puck Drop:
Veteran goalie Chris Mason saw Winnipeg's predecessor in Atlanta fizzle in the second half last season when a playoff berth hung in the balance, but believes the players still on the team can benefit from that experience.

"We learned last year that the games get a lot harder in the second half," Mason told the Winnipeg Free Press. "We tailed right off. But I don't feel like that this year. I feel the guys are just more focused and their understanding of how this team has to move is better."
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