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Jets at Coyotes preview

Winnipeg can clinch Central Division with win against Arizona, loss by Nashville

by Alan Robinson / Correspondent

JETS (46-30-5) at COYOTES (39-34-8)



The Game

The Winnipeg Jets seek to win the Central Division when they visit the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

A Jets win and a loss by the Nashville Predators to the Chicago Blackhawks would give Winnipeg its second division title in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history (2006-07). Winnipeg can also win the division with one point and a Nashville loss to Chicago in regulation and a St. Louis Blues loss to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

The Coyotes, who will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, can win 40 games for the first time since 2011-12 (42).


Players to watch

Jets forward Kyle Connor has one point in his past five games after six points (four goals, two assists) in his previous two. He has five points (one goal, four assists) in six games against the Coyotes.

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has five goals in his past 12 games and 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 20 games against the Jets.


They said it

"We're going to do all we control, come out and play hard and win and hopefully things fall into place. Everybody's aware of the situation, we follow the league pretty closely, so we know what's at stake tonight."-- Jets forward Kyle Connor

"We have a bright future ahead of us. Now we know what it takes to win in this league. We're not there right now, but hopefully it's something we can build off, and come back next year."-- Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Patrik Laine -- Andrew Copp -- Bryan Little

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Kevin Hayes -- Mathieu Perreault

Par Lindholm -- Adam Lowry -- Jack Roslovic

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jacob Trouba

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

Scratched: Matt Hendricks, Bogdan Kiselevich, Joe Morrow, Sami Niku

Injured: Laurent Brossoit (lower body), Josh Morrissey (upper body), Brandon Tanev (hand)


Coyotes projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Christian Dvorak -- Clayton Keller

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Josh Archibald

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Alex Galchenyuk -- Nick Cousins -- Conor Garland

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Alex Goligoski -- Jakob Chychrun

Kevin Connauton -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Calvin Pickard

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Mario Kempe, Ilya Lyubushkin, Christian Fischer

Injured: Antti Raanta (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)


Status report

Morrissey took part in the morning skate wearing a regular practice jersey, but coach Paul Maurice said he will not play. … Pickard will make his first start since Feb. 18, ending Darcy Kuemper's streak of 22 consecutive starts.


Stat pack

The Jets have lost an NHL-leading nine times when taking a lead into the third period (25-5-4). … Winnipeg is 1-4-1 in its past six games and 15-6-2 against the Pacific Division. … Since going 9-27-5 in the first half of the 2017-18 season, the Coyotes are 59-48-15. … Keller hasn't missed a game in the past two NHL seasons.

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