When: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (24-20-3 – 9th in East), Montreal Canadiens (27-14-5- 5th in East)
Television/Radio: RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN-JETS/TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets wrap up their 2013 regular season schedule tonight with a home game against the Montreal Canadiens, still holding a glimmer of hope that a win can get them the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Heading into tonight’s match-up with Montreal, the Jets sit in 9th place in the East with 51 points, one point behind both the New York Rangers (8th place) and Ottawa Senators (7th place). The Senators have three games remaining, including a game tonight versus the Washington Capitals, while the Rangers have two games remaining, including a game tonight versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Because it goes without saying that the Jets are going to need help from other teams in order to squeak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, all they can do is take of their own business, which begins and ends with defeating the Canadiens tonight on home ice. So far this season the Jets have not had much success against the Canadiens, losing both previous meetings (4-3 on January 29th in Montreal and 4-1 on April 4th in Montreal). The Habs still have an outside shot at winning the Northeast Division and a Top-3 seed so tonight’s game has major implications for them as well.
The good news for Winnipeg is that Montreal is playing their worst hockey of the year. Montreal has lost five of their last six games and have been outscored 28-14 in the process. Carey Price, a legitimate Vezina Trophy candidate, has been in net for all of the past five losses and has not played particularly well in any of them. Montreal is a team, like most teams, who relies heavily on Price and the team, like Price has been hurting as of late.
There may be a few new faces in the line-up for the Canadiens tonight, including 2010 1st round pick Jarred Tinordi, who travelled with the team to Winnipeg and is an option to play tonight. Tomas Kaberle is also an option for Montreal. Kaberle has been a healthy scratch for most of the season. Tinordi and Kaberle may suit up for Montreal if they choose to rest regular defensemen Andrei Markov and Francis Bouillon.
Don’t expect any line-up changes for the Jets tonight. Nikolai Antropov replaced the injured Kyle Wellwood in the line-up on Tuesday night and was pretty effective scoring a goal and adding an assist.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in net for the Jets tonight.
Carey Price is expected to start in net for the Canadiens tonight.
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- James Wright
3rd: Eric Tangradi– Alexander Burmistrov- Mike Santorelli
4th: Antti Miettinen- Aaron Gagnon – Chris Thorburn
Derek Meech – Dustin Byfuglien
Grant Clitsome – Ron Hainsey
Paul Postma- Mark Stuart
Montreal Canadiens: Max Pacioretty (14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points), PK Subban (11 goals, 25 assists, 36 points), Tomas Plekanec (13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (18 goals, 28 assists, 46 points), Blake Wheeler (18 goals, 22 assists, 40 points) Evander Kane (17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points), Bryan Little (7 goals, 24 assists, 31 points)
Montreal Canadiens: Ryan White (suspension), Alexei Emelin (upper body), Blake Geoffrion (head)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (mid-body, week to week), Zach Bogosian (concussion), Olli Jokinen (high ankle sprain, out 6-8 weeks), Kyle Wellwood (foot)
Who’s Next: TBD.