When: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Time: 2:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (10-9-1 – 8th in East), Washington Capitals (7-11-1 – 15th in East)
Television/Radio: CBC, NHLN-US, CSN-DC/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets host the last-place Washington Capitals tonight at MTS Centre looking to continue their forward momentum in the tight Eastern Conference.
The Jets defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Thursday night and have now won five of their last six games. Sitting at 21 points, the Jets are currently in 8th place in the East, and tied in points with Southeast Division leader Tampa Bay Lightning, who take 3rd place in the Conference because they have the tiebreaker with more goals scored.
Heading into tonight’s game, Jets Captain Andrew Ladd continues to be an offensive force for his team. Ladd scored two goals against New Jersey, including the game winner, and now has 12 goals in 20 games on the season, tied for 4th most in the NHL. Ladd has been the most consistent Jet this season and has registered at least one point in 13 games this season. The line of Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler may not be the most intimidating 1st line in the NHL but they continue to produce and they continue to be the most reliable trio for Jets Head Coach Claude Noel.
Washington enters tonight’s game on a horrendous 2-7-1 slide, including a demoralizing 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their last game on Wednesday night. Compounding problems for Washington is that their Captain Brooks Laich has still yet to play a game this season (groin injury) while defenceman Mike Green will also not play tonight due to an injury suffered during Wednesday’s game.
With the injury to Mike Green, the most important matchup in today’s game might be the Jets second line of Evander Kane-Alexander Burmistrov- Nikolai Antropov versus Washington’s second d-pairing which will most likely by John Erskine and Tom Poti, not exactly the most intimidating pair in the NHL.
Today’s game is the second of four meetings between the Jets and Capitals this year. The Jets and Capitals will meet in an extremely rare back-to-back home game set on Thursday, March 21st (7:00 p.m. CST) and Friday, March 22nd (6:00 p.m. CST) at MTS Centre.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets 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- Alexander Burmistrov
3rd: James Wright– Olli Jokinen- Anthony Peluso
4th: Eric Tangradi- Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien- Grant Clitsome
Paul Postma- Mark Stuart
Washington Capitals: Mike Ribeiro (6 goals, 16 assists, 22 points), Alex Ovechkin (8 goals, 7 assists, 15 points), Nicklas Backstrom (2 goals, 13 assists, 15 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (12 goals, 8 assists, 20 points), Evander Kane (9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points), Blake Wheeler (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points)
Washington Capitals: Mike Green (groin), Mathieu Perreault (general soreness), Michael Neuvirth (illness), Marcus Johansson (upper body), Brooks Laich (groin)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (shoulder), Zach Redmond (leg), Antti Miettinen (lower body)
Who’s Next: After tonight’s game, the Jets will go back on the road for their next four games. The Jets will play the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, March 4th (6:30 p.m. CST), followed by a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, March 6th (6:30 p.m. CST). The Jets will play the Panthers again on Friday, March 8th, (6:30 p.m. CST) and will then wrap the road trip up on Sunday, March 10th against the New Jersey Devils (6:00 p.m. CST).