When: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (34-29-8), Carolina Hurricanes (28-29-15)
Television/Radio: FS-CR (HD),TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290 Radio
The Story: It’s onward and upward for the Winnipeg Jets tonight as they will host the Carolina Hurricanes at the MTS Centre, looking to inch even closer to an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Jets defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Friday night in arguably the biggest game of the season so far and are now in 9th place in the East, just two points behind the Capitals for the 8th and final playoff spot.
This is the fifth of six meetings between the Hurricanes and Jets this season with Winnipeg leading the season series with three wins to Carolina’s one (The two teams will play again on Friday, March 30th in Carolina; 6:00 p.m., TSN-Jets, TSN 1290 Radio).
Including tonight, the Jets have 11 games left, seven games on the road and four games remaining at home. After tonight’s game against the Hurricanes, the Jets go on the road for three straight games starting on Tuesday night against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins (6:00 p.m., TSN-Jets, TSN 1290 Radio). The Jets will then play the Washington Capitals on Friday, March 23rd (6:00 p.m. CST) followed by a game against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, March 24th (6:00 p.m. CST).
Winnipeg will get a huge boost tonight as defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower-body) returns to the line-up. Bogosian has missed the last five games with a lower body injury. Either Randy Jones or Grant Clitsome will be scratched in favour of Bogosian.
Eric Fehr will not play for the Jets tonight as he suffered an injury during Friday night’s game. The Jets have re-called Spencer Machacek from the St.John’s Ice Caps of the American Hockey League. Machacek will play tonight.
Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner will not play for the Hurricanes tonight as he is serving the second game of a two game suspension. Skinner was suspended by the NHL earlier this week for kicking Scott Nichol of the St.Louis Blues.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.
Projected Jets line combinations:
1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
3rd: Tanner Glass- Jim Slater- Spencer Machacek
4th: Tim Stapleton- Nikolai Antropov -Antti Miettinen
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian
Grant Clitsome/Randy Jones-Mark Stuart
Carolina Hurricanes: Eric Staal (19 goals, 42 assists, 61 points), Jeff Skinner (20 goals, 21 assists, 41 points), Jussi Jokinen (10 goals, 28 assists, 38 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (17 goals, 42 assists, 59 points), Evander Kane (28 goals, 22 assists, 50 points), Dustin Byfuglien (11 goals, 35 assists, 46 points)
Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner (suspension), Jiri Tlusty (illness), Joni Pitkanen (knee)
Winnipeg Jets: Chris Thorburn (upper body), Eric Fehr (upper body)
Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Tuesday, March 20th, on the road, against the Pittsburgh Penguins (6:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES…..Dustin Byfuglien has the third most points amongst defencemen in the NHL (46) and trails Brian Campbell by only one point for second. Erik Karlsson leads all defencemen with 71 points….. Jets forward Nikolai Antropov is on a two-game goal scoring streak…..