Game Day Preview: Capitals @ Jets

Posted by Ezra Ginsburg in Game Previews,Winnipeg Jets on March 16, 2012 — No Comments

When: Friday, March 16, 2012

Time: 7:30 p.m. CST

Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Records: Winnipeg Jets (33-29-8), Washington Capitals (36-28-6)

Television/Radio: CSN-MA+,TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290 Radio

The Story: Tonight’s hockey game between the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals is to the Eastern Conference playoff race what sunglasses are to Bono’s look- huge.

The Jets defeated the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Wednesday night and are still in 10th place in the Eastern Conference but they now trail the Washington Capitals by just four points for the 8th and final playoff spot.

This is the fifth of six meeting between the Capitals and Jets this season with the the season series tied at two wins apiece (The two teams will play again a week from today in Washington; 6:00 p.m., TSN-Jets, TSN 1290 Radio).

Including tonight, the Jets have 12 games left, seven games on the road and five games remaining at home. After Friday’s game against the Capitals, the Jets close out their three-game home stand with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes this Sunday (7:30 p.m., TSN-Jets, TSN 1290 Radio).

Winnipeg enters tonight’s game with oodles of momentum. Without Chris Thorburn (upper body) and Zach Bogosian (lower-body) on Wednesday night, the Jets dominated the Stars, erupting for four second period goals, including Eric Fehr’s highlight reel game winning goal which came eight minutes into the period. The Jets also got goals from Nikolai Antropov, Andrew Ladd (2) and Evander Kane.

The Capitals enter tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak and winners of seven of their last ten games (7-2-1). Tonight’s game starts a four-game road trip for the Capitals who will next visit the Chicago Blackhawks (Sunday, 6:00 p.m. CST) and the Detroit Red Wings (Monday, 6:30 p.m. CST) in back-to-back games.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green will return to the line-up tonight after serving a three-game suspension. To make room in the starting line-up, the Capitals are expected to scratch either Jeff Schultz or Roman Hamrik.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.

Projected Jets line combinations:

Goalie:

Ondrej Pavelec

Forwards:

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

Defence:

Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom

Ron Hainsey-Grant Clitsome

Randy Jones-Mark Stuart

Offensive Leaders:

Washington Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin (29 goals, 24 assists, 53 points), Dennis Wideman (10 goals, 34 assists, 44 points), Alexander Semin (18 goals, 26 assists, 44 points)

Winnipeg JetsBlake Wheeler (17 goals, 41 assists, 58 points), Evander Kane (28 goals, 21 assists, 49 points), Dustin Byfuglien (10 goals, 34 assists, 44 points)

Injury Report:

Washington Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom (concussion), Tom Poti (groin)

Winnipeg Jets:  Chris Thorburn (upper body), Zach Bogosian (day to day)

Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Sunday, March 18th, at home, against the Carolina Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. CST).

QUICKIES…..Only two players have played in all 70 regular season games for the Winnipeg Jets this year: Tanner Glass and Andrew Ladd…..Kyle Wellwood needs four more points to tie his career-best points total (45), which he accomplished in his first season in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs (2005’06)…..