Game Day Preview: Jets @ Sabres
When: Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Where: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York
Records: Winnipeg Jets (23-19-3 – 9th in East), Buffalo Sabres (19-20-6- 11th in East)
Television/Radio: MSG-B, TSN-JETS/TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets will look to stay in the playoff race tonight when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center in their most recent must-win game situation.
The Jets only have three games remaining in the 2013 regular season and they may have to win all of their remaining games in order to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets picked up one point in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders and now have 49 points, three points behind the New York Rangers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Jets will have to do without the services of two regulars in their line-up tonight. On Sunday, Jets Head Coach Claude Noel announced that both Olli Jokinen and Zach Bogosian would not been accompanying the team to Buffalo. Jokinen left Saturday afternoons game in the first period and will be out 6-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Bogosian is day-to-day with an upper body injury which is believed to be a concussion. Bogosian was hit by Islanders forward Kyle Okposo on Saturday but remained in the game.
Because of the injury to Bogosian, the Jets recalled Zach Redmond from the St.John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. It has not been confirmed if Redmond will be in the line-up tonight, but he is an option for Claude Noel. If Redmond doesn’t dress tonight, expect either Derek Meech or Arturs Kulda to replace Bogosian in the Jets line-up. As far as Jokinen’s replacement goes, it is not certain who Noel who will use. Antti Miettinen has been a healthy scratch for the last six games and is an option as is Nikolai Antropov, who has been cleared to return to action. It is worth noting that both Jim Slater and Anthony Peluso have also been cleared to play tonight but it is not known if either player will make tonight’s starting line-up.
Game Day Update: Antti Miettinen and Derek Meech will draw back into the line-up tonight according to Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun.
As far as the Sabres go, they have already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so they are really just playing for next season at this point. Despite having high hopes at the beginning of this season. Buffalo has been a wildly consistent team this year and traded several key players right before the NHL Trade Deadline just under three weeks ago (Jason Pominville to Minnesota and Robyn Regehr to Los Angeles).
The Jets would be well advised to not take the Sabres lightly however as they boast dynamic offensive players Thomas Vanek, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis. Entering tonight’s game, the Sabres have won three of their last four games and six of their last ten games.
This is the third and final meeting of the season between the Sabres and Jets with Winnipeg leading the season series with two wins. The Jets defeated the Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo on February 19th and 4-1 in Winnipeg on April 9th, just under two weeks ago.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in net for the Jets tonight.
Jhonas Enroth is expected to start in net for the Sabres tonight according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.
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- Antti Miettinen- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: Eric Tangradi– Alexander Burmistrov- Mike Santorelli
4th: James Wright- Aaron Gagnon - Chris Thorburn
Derek Meech – Dustin Byfuglien
Grant Clitsome – Ron Hainsey
Paul Postma- Mark Stuart
Buffalo Sabres: Thomas Vanek (17 goals, 19 assists, 36 points), Cody Hodgson (15 goals, 17 assists, 32 points), Tyler Ennis (10 goals, 20 assists, 30 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (18 goals, 28 assists, 46 points), Blake Wheeler (17 goals, 22 assists, 39 points) Evander Kane (16 goals, 16 assists, 32 points), Bryan Little (7 goals, 24 assists, 31 points)
Buffalo Sabres: Tyler Myers (leg), Brayden McNabb (knee), Ville Leino (upper body), Alexander Sulzer (lower body)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (mid-body, week to week), Zach Bogosian (concussion), Olli Jokinen (high ankle sprain, out 6-8 weeks)
Who’s Next: The Jets play the Washington Capitals tomorrow night (6:00 p.m. CST). The Jets final regular season game is back in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 25th against the Montreal Canadiens (7:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES…..Dustin Byfuglien leads the Jets with an Average Time on Ice/game of 24:22. Zach Bogosian ranks 2nd on the Jets with an Average Time on Ice/game of 23:07…..