Game Day Preview: Stars @ Jets
When: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (32-29-8), Dallas Stars (38-26-5)
Television/Radio: FSN-SW,TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290 Radio
The Story: It’s do-or-die for the Winnipeg Jets tonight as they welcome the Dallas Stars to town after a lengthy four-day break from game action.
The Jets have fallen to 10th place in the Eastern Conference since they last played Friday night (a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames) and they are desperate to get back in the win column as they now trail the Washington Capitals by six points for the 8th and final playoff spot.
The task at hand for the Jets is definitely not going to be easy tonight as the Stars are one of the hottest teams in the league. Dallas is unbeaten in their last eleven games (10-0-1) and have vaulted to first place in the Pacific Division and third overall in the Western Conference.
The surprising Stars, who have missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons, are led by 26-year-old left winger Loui Eriksson (63 points), 22-year-old sniper Jamie Benn (56 points) and veteran center Mike Ribeiro (53 points).
The Stars aren’t flashy or blessed with many stars as they rely on a veteran blueline corps and excellent goaltending. Former Atlanta Thrasher goalie Kari Lehtonen has been excellent (29-15-4) in his second full season with the Stars.
Including tonight, the Jets have seven games remaining on the road and six games remaining at home. After Wednesday’s game against the Stars, the Jets have a pair of home game against the Washington Capitals on March 16th and Carolina Hurricanes on March 18th.
This is the only meeting between the Jets and Stars this season.
Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Jets tonight.
Projected Jets line combinations:
1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: Tanner Glass- Jim Slater- Eric Fehr
4th: Tim Stapleton- Nikolai Antropov -Antti Miettinen
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey-Grant Clitsome
Randy Jones-Mark Stuart
Dallas Stars: Loui Eriksson (23 goals, 39 assists, 62 points), Jamie Benn (21 goals, 35 assists, 56 points), Mike Ribeiro (16 goals, 37 assists, 55 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (17 goals, 39 assists, 56 points), Evander Kane (27 goals, 21 assists, 48 points), Dustin Byfuglien (10 goals, 33 assists, 43 points)
Dallas Stars: Jake Dowell (illness), Radek Dvorak (upper body), Mark Fistric, Sheldon Souray (lower body)
Winnipeg Jets: Chris Thorburn (upper body), Zach Bogosian (day to day)
Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Friday, March 16th, at home, against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES…..Chris Thorburn is expected to miss three weeks with a lower body injury…..Tonight’s game will be Dallas’ first game in Winnipeg since April 3, 1996 (3-1 Jets win)…..The Stars played the Minnesota Wild last night (1-0 win) and are 1-9-2 on the second game of back-to-backs…..