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Jets continue playoff push against Sabres

by Davis Harper /

JETS (23-19-3) at SABRES (19-20-6)


Last 10: Winnipeg 5-4-1; Buffalo 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third and final meeting. The Jets prevailed in each of the first two showdowns and have won five straight overall in the series.

Big story: Winnipeg continues to chase the eighth position in the Eastern Conference as it heads to Buffalo. The Jets just went 5-0-1 over a six-game stand at MTS Centre to pull within three points of both Southeast-leading Washington and the eighth-place New York Rangers. The Buffalo Sabres have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Team scope:

Jets: A nearly flawless homestand couldn’t have come at a better time for Winnipeg, which had lost a season-high four games before the 5-0-1 run. The Jets won big – a 7-2 shelling of Florida on April 11 – and small, prevailing against Tampa Bay in a shootout and Carolina in overtime. Winnipeg finished the stand Saturday against the New York Islanders, who took a 3-1 lead midway through the second period. Kyle Wellwood scored twice to pull the Jets even by the end of the period, and Bryan Little’s goal with 2:01 to play erased a 4-3 deficit. The Islanders won in the shootout, but the Jets captured a valuable point.

"I think it's a point gained (rather than a point lost)," coach Claude Noel said. "We could've gotten none and we got one, so let's move forward and try and win the next game. We're not doing the math, we're just trying to win. Guys know what's at stake."

Sabres: With its loss to the New York Rangers on Friday, Buffalo will miss the playoffs for a second straight year. The Sabres had won three straight coming into the game, but the Rangers were quick to drive the final nail in Buffalo’s postseason coffin. New York scored three in the final 1:18 of the first period and three more to start the second on its way to an 8-4 victory.

"Of course it's disconcerting," interim coach Ron Rolston said. "Do you think I'm not concerned about it? Of course it's disconcerting. We lost a game we should have won. We didn't have it, and there's no excuse."

Rolston hasn’t decided whether Jhonas Enroth will start in favor of Ryan Miller, who was pulled after conceding four goals in 21:13 of ice time and booed by the home crowd.

Who’s hot: Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd has four goals and 10 assists over a seven-game point streak. He also has a goal in each of the past four matchups against Buffalo.

Injury report: Winnipeg will miss some key contributors against the Sabres. Center Olli Jokinen left the game against the Islanders with a high-ankle sprain, and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Defenseman Zach Bogosian, who suffered a concussion in the same game, will miss at least a week. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom (back) and center Nik Antropov (lower body) are out indefinitely. Center Jim Slater (hand) and right wing Anthony Peluso (hand) are on injured reserve. … Sabres right wing Patrick Kaleta is questionable for Monday’s game with a hand injury he suffered against the Rangers. Left wing Ville Leino is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, while defensemen Tyler Myers and Alexander Sulzer will miss the rest of the season with leg injuries.

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