The Winnipeg Jets
returned to the ice Monday afternoon with a spirited practice in Philadelphia that stretched nearly two hours.
The Jets (22-22-6), who have lost three consecutive games, will face the Philadelphia Flyers
on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Jets have taken both meetings against Philadelphia this season and have scored a combined 15 goals in the two contests.
However, a dreadful 3-8-1 January record threatens to doom the club's playoff chances, and the Jets desperately need to start amassing wins if they are to close the five-point gap that separates them from the Florida Panthers
and Washington Capitals
. The Panthers and Capitals both hold two games in-hand on the Jets, as well.
"It's down to business now," center Bryan Little
said of the Jets' remaining 32 games.
The Jets play seven of their next nine games away from home before they begin an eight-game homestand in the second half of February. Coach Claude Noel
cut short the club's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center after his club pleased him with a crisp session.
"I thought the energy was pretty good this morning," Noel said. "Certainly the execution was better than it was yesterday."
Noel expects to see a refreshed Jets team and believes that the All-Star break allowed some of this charges to re-evaluate their recent play and re-focus going forward.
"It will be interesting to see where we're at mentally, physically and how we go," Noel said.
Winnipeg will be without forwards Evander Kane
, Alexander Burmistrov
and Tim Stapleton
. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien
, out since Dec. 23 with a knee injury, accompanied the club on its trip that will continue Thursday night at Tampa Bay.
Winnipeg also added some reinforcements from their AHL affiliate St. John’s in forwards Aaron Gagnon
and Spencer Machacek
will get the start in net.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg:
- Bryan Little
- Blake Wheeler
- Nik Antropov
- Kyle Wellwood
- Jim Slater
- Chris Thorburn
- Aaron Gagnon
- Spencer Machacek
- Ron Hainsey
- Zach Bogosian
- Randy Jones