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Jets know they can't overlook Hurricanes

by Patrick Williams /
WINNIPEG -- A classic "trap" game awaits the Winnipeg Jets tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes arrive in town.

The 12-11-4 Jets took their most impressive win of the season so far on Tuesday night when they beat the Boston Bruins, 2-1, at the MTS Centre to break Boston's streak of 15 games without a regulation defeat. The Jets are now on a 7-2-1 run in their last 10 games, have won three straight and have taken six of their last seven home outings. And tomorrow, the Jets skate in Detroit against the Red Wings, who hold the Western Conference's fourth spot.

In between the Bruins and the Red Wings are the 9-17-4 Hurricanes, who continue their midseason shake-up under new coach Kirk Muller. Jets coach Claude Noel is fully aware of the perils of overlooking the Hurricanes.

"We're certainly going to be aware of Carolina," Noel said. "I'm not taking them lightly, especially after the [Tomas Kaberle-Jaroslav Spacek] deal they made today. That will get the attention of the players."

"They're in a little bit of turmoil," Noel said of Carolina. "They're trying to reorganize and re-shuffle. They'll be ready to play. We'll have to be ready to go."

Goaltender Chris Mason will see action for only the sixth time this season for the Jets, as he will spell workhorse partner Ondrej Pavelec tonight. Mason last played two weeks ago when he led the Jets to a 3-1 win against the Hurricanes at the RBC Center on Nov. 25.

Mason's only other win this season also came at Carolina's expense when he relieved Pavelec at the MTS Centre in a 5-3 decision over the Hurricanes on Oct. 22.

The Jets also expect to regain the services of center Nik Antropov, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury sustained on Nov. 29 against Ottawa. Randy Jones, who has missed 15 consecutive games since taking a shot to his foot on Nov. 3, is also expected to re-enter the Winnipeg defensive rotation in place of Arturs Kulda.

Here are tonight's projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg.


Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater- Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Tim Stapleton - Alexander Burmistrov

Johnny Oduya - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Randy Jones - Mark Flood

Chris Mason will start for the Jets, with Ondrej Pavelec backing up.
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