A fruitless two-game swing through Vancouver and Calgary followed by a five-day layoff has left the Winnipeg Jets
chasing the Eastern Conference pack.
The Jets (32-29-8) last played in Winnipeg on March 5 and finished that night at 72 points, just two points behind the Florida Panthers
for the Southeast Division lead. Now the 10th-place Jets trail the Panthers by seven points, and the resurgent Washington Capitals
have elbowed their way into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Winnipeg begins a three-game homestand this evening with a visit from the Dallas Stars
, who have taken six straight wins and have won 11 of the franchises' 13 all-time meetings. Given that the Jets have only 11 road wins this season and have not shown any indication they will be able to correct their road problems, their stay at home this week has taken on even greater urgency for a club trying to stay above water in the playoff race.
But the Jets will do so without defenseman Zach Bogosian
, whose injury woes linger, and right wing Chris Thorburn
, who exited the Jets' loss in Calgary and will be out for an extended period of time. Going in for Thorburn on the Jets' checking line will be little-used forward Eric Fehr
. Coach Claude Noel
has not played Fehr since Feb. 21, and Fehr has only 1 goal this season.
will again start in net for Winnipeg, with Chris Mason
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Jets:
- Bryan Little
- Blake Wheeler
- Alexander Burmistrov
- Kyle Wellwood
- Jim Slater
- Eric Fehr
- Nik Antropov
- Antti Miettinen
- Dustin Byfuglien
- Grant Clitsome
- Mark Stuart