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Coyotes begin busy stretch against Jets

by Brian Compton

JETS (33-33-10) at COYOTES (36-27-12)


Last 10: Winnipeg 3-5-2; Phoenix 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third and final game between the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes. The Jets are aiming for a sweep of the Coyotes after winning the first two games at MTS Centre.

Big story: Phoenix enters Tuesday one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dallas visits the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. The Coyotes fell five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the top wild-card spot after the Wild rallied for a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

The Jets trail the Coyotes by eight points; Winnipeg blew a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-4 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

Team Scope:

Jets: Winnipeg's players were practically at a loss for words after what transpired at Honda Center on Monday. Goals from Jacob Trouba, Matt Halischuk, Blake Wheeler and Eric Tangradi had the Jets up 4-0 midway through the second period, but it wasn't enough to secure two points in the standings. Anaheim scored late in the second and added three more in the third, capped by Corey Perry's game-tying goal at 19:37. Stephane Robidas won it 16 seconds into overtime.

"It's frustrating," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart told reporters after the game. "There's not a whole lot to say right now after a game like that. It's shock. I don't know, I don't have a whole lot for you."

Coyotes: With seven games left on their schedule (all against Western Conference opponents), the Coyotes know each point is crucial towards their bid for a playoff spot. Tuesday marks the beginning of a stretch that sees them play three games in four nights, which could be a good thing. After all, it won't give them much time to think about the race.

"It's game-by-game, but you've got to treat it with the [playoff] mindset of you have to prepare for a game, play it, get the result and then put it behind you and move on to the next one," coach Dave Tippett said Monday. "Right now that's our mindset -- prepare for every game as hard as we can and try to get the result that we want."

Who's hot: Jets forward Bryan Little had an assist Monday and extended his point streak to six games (two goals, five assists). Wheeler has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker has two goals in his past three games.

Injury report: Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian (upper body) and Keaton Ellerby (lower body) are day-to-day. Defenseman Grant Clitsome (back surgery), and forwards Mark Scheifele (sprained MCL), Chris Thorburn (broken foot) and James Wright (sprained ankle) are on injured reserve … Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (lower body) skated Monday, but Thomas Greiss is expected to receive his fourth straight start. Tippett said Smith is not expected to be reevaluated until later in the week. Forward David Moss (lower body) could play Tuesday; defenseman David Schlemko (lower body) skated before practice Monday.

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