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Jets at Avalanche preview

Colorado can climb into second wild card in Western Conference; Winnipeg looks to solidify Central lead

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

JETS (36-19-4) at AVALANCHE (24-24-11)

8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, SN, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will take over the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

The Avalanche, one point behind the idle Minnesota Wild, will attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since they won a season-long six straight games from Nov. 18-28.

Goalie Semyon Varlamov will make his eighth straight start for Colorado, which is 2-6-3 in its past 11 games and has allowed at least four goals in seven of them.

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start for the Jets, who have lost two straight (0-1-1) and are 2-3-2 in their past seven games. Winnipeg, which leads the Nashville Predators by one point for first place in the Central Division, has allowed at least four goals in four of its past six games.


Players to watch

Jets center Mark Scheifele has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. He has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 22 games against Colorado.

Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past 11 games after having 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his previous seven. He's two points shy of 200 in the NHL.


They said it

"There are parts of our game that we don't like right now, so we're focused on that. We don't think that's a permanent thing because we know that at different times of the year, we've been really strong in those areas." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice

"We have to have a great push now and win as many games as we can. We have to have some streaks." -- Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Patrik Laine -- Bryan Little -- Jack Roslovic

Mathieu Perreault -- Adam Lowry -- Brandon Tanev

Brendan Lemieux -- Andrew Copp -- Mason Appleton

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Sami Niku

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Nic Petan, Tucker Poolman

Injured: Dustin Byfuglien (lower body), Nikolaj Ehlers (upper body), Joe Morrow (lower body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Alexander Kerfoot -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Sven Andrighetto

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Tyson Jost -- Matt Calvert

A.J. Greer -- Andrew Agozzino -- J.T. Compher

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Patrik Nemeth -- Tyson Barrie

Ryan Graves -- Nikita Zadorov

Semyon Varlamov

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Gabriel Bourque

Injured: Ian Cole (upper body), Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Colin Wilson (upper body)


Status report

Ehlers skated in a non-contact jersey Wednesday. ... Poolman was recalled from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. … Wilson skated in a non-contact jersey.


Stat pack

Laine has two assists in his past 12 games. … Winnipeg is 0-for-19 on the power play in its past seven games. … Colorado is 0-for-26 on the power play in its past nine games.

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