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Jets make changes but keep Pavelec in net vs. Stars

by Steve Hunt /

JETS (8-6-2) at STARS (12-4-0)


DALLAS -- The Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars each head into their game Thursday at American Airlines Center seeking a bounce-back performance.

The Jets have lost two straight, including a 5-3 defeat against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, but coach Paul Maurice is sticking with goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. He was first off the ice at the morning skate and will start his third consecutive game.

"I like both goaltenders [Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson]," Maurice said. "I don't know that the final score has been any indication of how well the goalies have played. I'm comfortable with both. We thought our schedule allowed for [Pavelec] to get into some games here and get on a bit of a run."

Winnipeg practiced in Dallas on Wednesday and Maurice moved Chris Thorburn, who had been on the fourth line, to the third line alongside Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford.

Alexander Burmistrov, who had been on the third line, skated on the fourth line alongside Andrew Copp and Nic Petan.

Maurice also switched the Jets' second and third defense pairs, putting Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot together on the second pair and Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart on the third. The top pair of Toby Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien remained intact.

Dallas started its three-game homestand with a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, ending a three-game winning streak.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff is keeping his forward lines and all but one of his defense pairs intact from that loss.

Jyrki Jokipakka did not participate in the morning skate because of a maintenance day, Ruff said, and won't play Thursday. Jamie Oleksiak will replace him on the third pair alongside Jordie Benn.

"You want him [Oleksiak] to play well defensively, move the puck," Ruff said. "That first play out of the zone is a big deal."

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for Dallas and will make his fourth start in Dallas' past five games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Nikolaj Ehlers

Chris Thorburn - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford

Alexander Burmistrov - Andrew Copp - Nic Petan

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Tyler Myers - Ben Chiarot

Jacob Trouba - Mark Stuart

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza

Ales Hemsky - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Curtis McKenzie (hip), Travis Moen (upper body)

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka

Status report: Dallas assigned defenseman Patrik Nemeth to Texas of the American Hockey League on Wednesday for a conditioning assignment that could last up to 14 days. … Oleksiak will be playing his third game of the season.

Who's hot: Little leads the Jets with eight goals while Wheeler leads with 19 points. … Seguin has nine goals and nine assists in 14 career games against the Jets. … Jamie Benn has three goals and eight assists in 10 career games against the Jets.

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