Game Day Preview: Blues @ Jets
When: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (30-26-7), St.Louis Blues (37-17-7)
Television/Radio: CBC,FS-MW (HD)/ TSN 1290 Radio
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets are sitting on top of the world these days, winners of four of their last five games and in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and they will look to keep it that way when they host the St.Louis Blues this afternoon.
The Jets took sole possession of 1st place in the Southeast Division on Thursday night after they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 and the Florida Panthers only picked up one point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minneosta Wild.
The Jets now have 67 points on the season, one more than the 8th place Panthers and two more than the 9th place Toronto Maple Leafs. The Panthers have four games in hand on the Jets, who have played 63 games so far this season (most in the Eastern Conference).
Tonight’s game will be the fifth game of an eight-game homestand for the Jets and the first time all season they have the played the Blues, who are in 4th place in the Western Conference with 81 points.
The Blues enter today’s game on the heels of a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. The Blues have now won seven of their last 10 games and are 22-5-6 under head coach Ken Hitchcock, who replaced Davis Payne back in early-November.
The Blues have been a difficult team to beat since Hitchcock took over as they employ two excellent goaltenders (Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott) and have one of the best young defense corps in the National Hockey League. Led by Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pieterangelo, the Blues have allowed a NHL-low 1.92 goals against per game.
Projected Jets line combinations:
1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: Tanner Glass- Jim Slater- Chris Thorburn
4th: Tim Stapleton- Nikolai Antropov -Antti Miettinen
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Randy Jones-Mark Stuart
Johnny Oduya-Ron Hainsey
St.Louis Blues: David Backes (17 goals, 25 assists, 42 points), T.J. Oshie (15 goals, 24 assists, 39 points), Alex Pieterangelo (10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (11 goals, 38 assists, 49 points), Evander Kane (24 goals, 16 assists, 40 points), Dustin Byfuglien (10 goals, 28 assists, 38 points)
St. Louis Blues: Kris Russell (concussion), Jamie Langenbrunner (foot), Matt D’Agostini (concussion), Alex Steen (concussion), Roman Polak (foot)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (day-to-day, upper-body)
Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Monday, February 27th, at home, against the Edmonton Oilers (7:30 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES….. Courtesy of Kalen Qually, Communications Coordinator, True North Sports & Entertainment…..Dustin Byfuglien has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in his last eight games…..Five-game point streaks: Blake Wheeler (one goal, 10 assists), Evander Kane (five goals, three assists) & Dustin Byfuglien (two goals, seven assists)…..Three-game point streaks: Bryan Little (four goals, three assists) & Andrew Ladd (four goals, four assists)…. Tanner Glass scored his career-high fifth goal of the season on Thursday versus TB. Glass now has career highs in goals (5), assists (9) and points (14)…..Mark Stuart leads the Jets with 144 blocked shots, 2nd most in the NHL…..