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Preview: Jets at Panthers

Winnipeg plays second of back to back; Florida goalie Roberto Luongo eyes 448th NHL win

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

JETS (18-19-3) at PANTHERS (16-14-8)

7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNW, SNP, FS-F, NHL.TV

 

Jets team scope

The Winnipeg Jets did not have a morning skate after a 6-4 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Coach Paul Maurice said after the game he did not know whether he would give goalie Connor Hellebuyck a second consecutive start or go with Michael Hutchinson. "Back-to-backs have never been a concern for me with goalies," Maurice said. "It's all the games that are around the back to backs, the three in four, and the four in six. So we'll check to see how he is … but the door is not closed to that." The Jets are 3-2-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season. Hellebuyck and Hutchinson split starts in those six sets. The Jets have won three in a row on the road for the first time this season.

 

Panthers team scope

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will make his third attempt at winning his 448th NHL game, which would move him past Terry Sawchuk for sole possession of fifth place on the League's all-time list. Luongo lost in shootouts to the Detroit Red Wings (4-3) on Dec. 23 and the Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2) on Dec. 28 since tying Sawchuk with a 4-3 shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 20. Forward Jaromir Jagr needs an assist to pass Paul Coffey for fifth place on the League's all-time list. He tied Coffey with his 1,135th assist in a 3-1 victory against the Dallas Stars on New Year's Eve. Forward Colton Sceviour will miss his second game because of an upper-body injury but coach Tom Rowe said Sceviour could have played if needed.

 

Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Mark Scheifele -- Patrik Laine

Mathieu Perreault -- Bryan Little -- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Andrew Copp -- Nic Petan -- Drew Stafford

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Mark Stuart, Chris Thorburn

Injured: Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body)
 
 

Panthers projected lineup

Jaromir Jagr -- Vincent Trocheck -- Seth Griffith

Jussi Jokinen -- Nick Bjugstad -- Reilly Smith

Greg McKegg -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Jonathan Marchessault

Paul Thompson -- Derek MacKenzie -- Shawn Thornton

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Denis Malgin

Injured: Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle), Colton Sceviour (upper body)

 

Status report

Myers remains on injured reserve and will miss his 25th game. … Yandle likely will play in his 700th NHL game. … Defenseman Dylan McIlrath was loaned to Springfield of the American Hockey League. Rowe said the plan was for McIlrath to play three AHL games this week before rejoining the Panthers for a road game against the New Jersey Devils on Monday. … Rowe said Barkov still is expected to miss another two weeks before he gets re-evaluated.

 

Who's hot

With his empty-net goal against Tampa Bay, Laine became the first Jets player to reach 20 goals in the first 40 games of a season since 2009-10, when Ilya Kovalchuk had 24 goals at that point. … Trouba has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games and is on a four-game point streak. … Trocheck has three goals and two assists in his past three games. … Smith has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past seven games. … The Panthers' 29.6 power-play percentage in their past eight games is third in the League during that span.

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