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Jets hope to continue push against 'Canes

by Corey Masisak
HURRICANES (28-29-15) AT JETS (34-29-8)


Last 10: Carolina 5-3-2; Winnipeg 5-3-2.

Season Series: The Jets have won three of the four meetings so far this season, including both contests at MTS Centre.

Big Story: Winnipeg can go level on points with Washington (currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference) with a win and a regulation loss by the Capitals in Chicago. Washington would own the tiebreaker for eighth.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: Carolina has only lost four times in regulation since the start of February. The Hurricanes are 10-4-6 since Feb. 1, which is a 106-point pace over the course of 82 games.

They have actually accumulated the second-most points in the Southeast Division in that span, though the Florida Panthers have played three more games to earn two more points. The team’s terrible record in games that go to overtime/a shootout (3-15) is the reason why the Hurricanes, much improved since Kirk Muller became the coach, are not among the teams nipping at Washington’s heels.

Jets: Winnipeg has won four of four at home and lost both games on the road to start the month of March, and that's pretty much a microcosm of the Jets’ season. Teams haven't enjoyed trips to MTS Centre much, as the Jets are 23-10-4 at home.

They're only 13-19-3 on the road, though, and seven of the last 10 games of the season are away from the friendly confines of Manitoba. Even if the Jets sweep the rest of the games at home, that only gets them to 84 points -- they're probably going to need three or four road wins at least to secure a playoff berth.

Who's Hot: Drayson Bowman has 11 points in 29 games for the Hurricanes, but four of them have come in the past three games. He had three against Minnesota in a 5-3 win Saturday. Blake Wheeler has at least one point in 12 of the past 13 games for the Jets. He’s collected seven goals and 21 points in that span.

Injury Report: The Hurricanes are without defensemen Joni Pitkanen (concussion) and Jaroslav Spacek (lower body). Top goal-scorer Jeff Skinner will also miss the game because he's serving a two-game suspension for attempting to kick a player while laying on the ice. Zach Bogosian has missed 12 of the past 13 games for the Jets, but he is expected to return to the lineup against the Hurricanes. Forward Chris Thorburn (lower body) is the only guy missing for Winnipeg.

Stat Pack: Cam Ward won his 200th game Thursday against the St. Louis Blues. He became the eighth goalie in NHL history to reach 200 by his age-27 season (age on Feb. 1). Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury was the seventh to do earlier this season. Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has 46 points this season -- he is the 10th defenseman to score at least 45 points in a season in a Winnipeg uniform. The old Jets actually had three defensemen reach 45 points in 1987-88.

Puck Drop: The fans at MTS Centre have earned quite a bit of attention for their non-traditional and creative taunts of opposing players of late. Buffalo's Ryan Miller was serenaded with chants of "silver medal" and Washington's Alex Ovechkin was reminded that "Crosby's better." Ovechkin told reporters he enjoyed it, and liked the passion of the Winnipeg fans.

With Carolina in town, Eric Staal should probably expect to hear it from the MTS faithful. Winnipeg fans could go in a different direction to continue being creative, but "Jordan's better" certainly seems like a natural follow-up to their dig at Ovechkin.

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