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Jets at Avalanche preview

Colorado can clinch playoff berth with point; Winnipeg looks to nail down Central Division title

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

JETS (46-30-4) at AVALANCHE (37-29-14)

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


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a point against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

The Avalanche, 7-0-2 in their past nine games, are four points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and three points behind the Dallas Stars, who hold the first wild card. Colorado also will clinch if the Coyotes lose to the Vegas Golden Knights in any fashion.

The Jets will clinch first place in the Central Division with a win in any fashion on Thursday, combined with a Nashville Predators regulation loss to the Vancouver Canucks and a St. Louis Blues loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in any fashion.

Winnipeg is 1-4-0 in its past five games after going 5-1-0 in its previous six.


Players to watch

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck is 5-3-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and two shutouts in his past nine games (eight starts).

Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer is 7-1-2 with a 1.48 GAA, .955 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 10 starts.


They said it

"They have a lot on the line tonight and so do we. We have something to prove to ourselves, but we have what it takes in here." -- Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba

"It just feels like every night we're playing a must-win [game] and you're kind of riding the emotion of that. I think our guys have done a pretty good job of staying even-keel. It's no different tonight." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Kevin Hayes -- Patrik Laine

Par Lindholm -- Adam Lowry -- Bryan Little

Mathieu Perreault -- Andrew Copp -- Jack Roslovic

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

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)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alexander Kerfoot

Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg - J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Derick Brassard -- Matt Calvert

Sven Andrighetto - Tyson Jost -- Gabriel Bourque

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Ian Cole -- Patrik Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Andrew Agozzino, Mark Barberio, Ryan Graves

Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Mikko Rantanen (upper body)


Status report

Jets coach Paul Maurice said Tanev will fly home to be re-evaluated; he injured in a 5-1 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. ... Rantanen skated and stickhandled wearing a non-contact jersey before the morning skate but will miss his sixth straight game. There is no timetable for his return, Bednar said.


Stat pack

Wheeler has two assists in his past eight games after having 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in his previous 13 games. … Kerfoot has eight points (four goals, four assists) in a six-game point streak. … MacKinnon has six points (three goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak.

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