Game Day Preview: Capitals @ Jets
When: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (16-12-2 – 3rd in East),Washington Capitals (12-16-1 – 14th in East)
Television/Radio: CSN-DC, TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets will look to make it four home wins in a row tonight when they host the Washington Capitals in the first game of a rare two-game mini-series.
Winnipeg holds down 3rd place in the Eastern Conference heading into tonight’s game with 34 points, two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for 1st place in the Southeast Division. The Jets will look to build on Tuesday night’s 3-1 come-from-behind victory over the powerhouse Boston Bruins, who dominated most of the contest but fell apart in the final stages.
Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was the 1st star in Tuesday’s victory and is arguably playing the best he has ever played as an NHL goaltender. Pavelec has started the last seven games for the Jets and has posted a record of 5-1-1, with a 2.28 GAA and a .930 percentage in those games. On the season, Pavelec has started 27 of 30 games this year and is ranked 7th in the NHL with 13 wins.
Despite coming up with the victory in their last game, the Jets play in their own zone has to get better. The number-1 pairing of Ron Hainsey-Zach Bogosian continues to do an admirable job but the second pairing of Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien has struggled over the last few games and has been a major weakness for the team as of late.
On the injury front, Tobias Enstrom is expected to return from his shoulder injury soon but he will most likely not be back until early next week at the earliest.
There are no line-up changes expected for the Jets tonight. Alexander Burmistrov returned to the line-up last game after a four-game stay in the press box. Burmistrov had 10:02 of ice time with 2 hits and 2 PIM. Expect Patrice Cormier to be a healthy scratch again tonight.
This is the third of five meetings between the Capitals and Jets this year. The season series is tied at one game apiece. The Jets defeated the Capitals 4-2 back on January 22nd and Washington defeated Winnipeg 3-0 on Saturday, March 2nd. The Jets will play the Capitals for the final time on Tuesday, April 23rd in Washington (6:00 p.m. CST).
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to get the start in goal for the Winnipeg Jets.
Braden Holtby is expected to get the start for the Washington Capitals.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to today’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change before game time):
1st: Andrew Ladd- Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane-Nikolai Antropov- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: James Wright– Olli Jokinen- Antti Miettinen
4th: Eric Tangradi- Alexander Burmistrov - Chris Thorburn
Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien- Grant Clitsome
Derek Meech- Mark Stuart
Washington Capitals: Mike Ribeiro (10 goals, 12 assists, 32 points), Alex Ovechkin (12 goals, 12 assists, 24 points), Nicklas Backstrom (3 goals, 21 assists, 24 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (14 goals, 16 assists, 30 points), Blake Wheeler (14 goals, 12 assists, 26 points) Evander Kane (12 goals, 9 assists, 21 points)
Washington Capitals: Tom Poti (back), Tomas Kundratek (leg), John Erskine (upper body)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (shoulder, week to week), Zach Redmond (leg), Anthony Peluso (hand), Jim Slater (upper body)
Who’s Next: The Jets play the Washington Capitals again tomorrow, Friday, March 22nd (6:00 p.m. CST). The Jets wrap up their homestand on Sunday, March 24th against Tampa Bay (7:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES…..Ondrej Pavelec ranks 2nd overall in the NHL amongst all goaltenders in Time on Ice. Pavelec has been on the ice for 1,560 minutes and 35 seconds, second only to Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.….