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Preview: Jets at Avalanche

Forward Drew Stafford could return for Winnipeg; defenseman Mark Barberio makes debut for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

JETS (24-25-4) at AVALANCHE (13-33-2)

3 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3, NHL.TV


Jets team scope

Forward Drew Stafford, who has missed five games because of a lower-body injury, practiced Friday and could play for the Winnipeg Jets. "Feeling pretty good the last couple days," Stafford said. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec will start after making 39 saves Thursday in a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars. "He made saves at critical times, and we've seen him in the past get into that kind of groove," coach Paul Maurice told the Jets website. "Goalies are going to win you games and he won us the game last night, it's pretty simple. He's been real good in other games, but he was the difference." Pavelec is 4-2-0 since his Jan. 17 recall from Manitoba of the American Hockey League. He's 6-1-3 in 10 career games against the Colorado Avalanche with a 1.84 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. The Jets are 3-0-0 in their past three games, all on the road, their first three-game winning streak this season. "Finally, we can stop talking about that," said center Mark Scheifele, who scored twice Thursday. They Jets are 2-0-1 against the Avalanche this season. "All the games [against Colorado] over the last few years in my memory are all tight games, lots of overtime games," Maurice said. "It'll be a hard, physical battle, more of a grinder, so we have to make sure we're ready for that kind of game. We're not expecting the up-and-down, easy lane hockey." 


Avalanche team scope

Defenseman Mark Barberio will make his Avalanche debut after being acquired on waivers Thursday from the Montreal Canadiens. "It's kind of a fresh start and new life. I'm excited," he said after practicing Friday. "I want to bring some energy, I want to bring positivity as well. I feel like I'm a pretty positive guy and I just want to bring that to the dressing room." Coach Jared Bednar said he'll use Barberio on the power play, which has gone 6-for-68 in the past 21 games. "He moves the puck well, he skates real well," Bednar said. "We're banged up on the back end and we need some help back there." Defenseman Erik Johnson hasn't played since Dec. 3 because of a broken fibula, Fedor Tyutin won't play Saturday because of a groin injury and Tyson Barrie didn't practice Friday because of general soreness but is probable, Bednar said. Goalie Calvin Pickard will start for the Avalanche, who are opening a three-game homestand. They have been outscored 36-15 during a nine-game losing streak (0-8-1) that includes five consecutive home losses in regulation. The Avalanche are 1-13-1 in the past 15 games and 2-18-1 in 21. They've been shut out eight times this season. 


Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Bryan Little -- Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Mathieu Perreault -- Nic Petan -- Chris Thorburn

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom -- Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart -- Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Michael Hutchinson, Julian Melchiori, Brandon Tanev

Injured: Ben Chiarot (upper body), Marko Dano (lower body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Drew Stafford (lower body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto

Andreas Martinsen -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Joe Colborne -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Patrick Wiercioch -- Nikita Zadorov

Mark Barberio -- Cody Goloubef

Calvin Pickard

Spencer Martin

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Rene Bourque (hip flexor), Erik Johnson (broken fibula), Fedor Tyutin (groin), Semyon Varlamov (hip surgery)


Status report

Myers hasn't played since being injured Nov. 11. "No progress, not getting stronger," Maurice said. ... Johnson skated by himself the past five days, but there isn't a timetable for his return.


Who's hot

Little has seven goals and four assists in a seven-game point streak. ... Laine has two goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. ... Scheifele has four goals and three assists in a three-game point streak, and six goals and eight assists in the past nine games. ... Duchene has two goals and two assists in the past six games. ... Rantanen has two goals in the past three games.

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