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Game Day Preview: Canadiens @ Jets

The Jets are hosting the Montreal Canadiens in the first regular season NHL game in Winnipeg in over 15 years.

Download the PDF of this afternoon’s Line-Up Card

When: Sunday, October 9, 2011

Where: MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Time: 4:00 p.m. CST

Records: Winnipeg (0-0-0), Montreal (0-1-0)

Television/Radio: CBC, TSN Radio 1290

The Story: The Winnipeg Jets home opener has finally arrived and it’s been only four months since we’ve been waiting for it.

Sorry, I mean it’s only been fifteen years since we’ve been waiting for it.

The Jets will host the Montreal Canadiens today at 4 p.m. CST at the MTS Centre in what can only be described as the most-anticipated sporting event in Winnipeg history. For weeks, and even months, leading up to today, a ticket to the Jets season opener has been the hottest item around and when you consider that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who will be in attendance at today’s game, was only offered two tickets when he requested fourteen, its safe to say that you probably won’t be able to score a ticket at this late stage in the game.

Not to worry though, as there will be plenty of places to enjoy the game in Winnipeg and around the country. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to watch the game on the big-screen at The Forks, Winnipeg’s traditional meeting grounds, and millions more are expected to watch the game nationally on CBC Television (You can also listen to the game on TSN Radio 1290).

The Jets haven’t played a game since September 30th, when they played their last exhibition game against the Nashville Predators. Over that nine-day break, the Jets inked Rookie Mark Scheifele to an entry-level contract and claimed left winger Brett MacLean off waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes. The Jets also trimmed their opening-day roster down to 23 players (not including injured players), sending bubble players Patrice Cormier, Brett Festerling, David Aebischer, Jason Gregoire, Carl Klingberg and Paul Postma to St.John’s of the American Hockey League to start the season.

The Montreal Canadiens roll into town having already played one regular season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a 2-0 shutout loss on Wednesday night. The Habs line-up is hasn’t changed too much from last year’s squad that lost in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins. The Habs significant off-season acquisition was right winger Erik Cole, a former Stanley Cup Champion himself with the Carolina Hurricanes.Cole was brought in to give much needed size to a roster that is full of skilled, but smallish forwards including Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.

Here are the projected line-combinations for today’s afternoon game between the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets (* subject to change before game time):

Winnipeg Jets*

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason

Defencemen (as per the final exhibition game)
Tobias Enstrom Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya Ron Hainsey

Andrew Ladd Bryan Little Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane Mark Scheifele Kyle Wellwood
Brett MacLean Alexander Burmistrov Nikolai Antropov
Tanner Glass Jim Slater Chris Thorburn

Montreal Canadiens* 

Carey Price
Peter Budaj

Josh Gorges Alexei Emelin
Hal Gill P.K. Subban
Jaroslav Spacek Raphael Diaz

Michael Cammalleri Tomas Plekanec Erik Cole
Max Pacioretty Scott Gomez Brian Gionta
Mathieu Darche David Desharnais Andrei Kostitsyn
Travis Moen Andreas Engqvist Yannick Weber