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Jets seek offensive burst as they host Avalanche

by Brian Hunter

AVALANCHE (2-4-2) at JETS (2-5-0)


Season series: This is the first of five games between Central Division rivals currently trying to point themselves in the right direction. The Colorado Avalanche won three of five against the Winnipeg Jets last season. The past four games between the teams have ended in overtime or a shootout. Matt Duchene had deciding goals in the shootout (Dec. 12, 2013) and overtime (March 10, 2014) for Colorado. Blake Wheeler scored OT goals for Winnipeg on Dec. 29, 2013 and March 19, 2014.

Avalanche team scope: It seemed only a matter of time until the floodgates opened, and after scoring 12 goals in its first seven games Colorado erupted Friday in a 7-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks. Included in the output were the first two goals by Jarome Iginla in an Avalanche jersey. He passed Mike Modano for 23rd on the all-time goal-scoring list at 562 and is now two behind Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk, who are tied for 21st. Semyon Varlamov returned to action Friday, giving coach Patrick Roy his expected one-two tandem of Varlamov and Reto Berra healthy again after each missed time because of injury. Defenseman Zach Redmond, who had two goals and seven points in 18 games for the Jets, made his debut for the Avalanche on Friday. He had an assist and two shots.

Jets team scope: Scoring issues have also plagued Winnipeg, which put six goals on the board in an opening-night win and have scored seven goals in the next six games, five of which have been losses. The Jets have been able to rely on Bryan Little (four goals) and Wheeler (three) for consistent offense, and defenseman Toby Enstrom leads them in scoring with six points, all assists. Forward Patrice Cormier was recalled Saturday from the American Hockey League. "Clearly there's some good offense that's being had by our team that's not being converted into goals," coach Paul Maurice said Saturday. He lamented the number of quality scoring chances the Jets have allowed of late, which they'll need to watch against the Avalanche. "There's some guys up front who are really high-end skill level. … We need that first aggressive push and then we need our people working real hard back to get it done."

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