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Game Day Preview: Jets @ Panthers

The 2011’12 NHL Regular Season is winding down quickly for the Winnipeg Jets so they will look to play the role of spoiler tonight when they visit the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State.

WPG FLA 610x290

When: Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Time: 6:30 p.m. CST

Where: Bank Atlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida

Records: Winnipeg Jets (36-34-9), Florida Panthers (37-25-17)

Television/Radio:  TSN-JETS (HD),FS-F (HD)/ TSN Radio 1290

The other side:  Litter Box Cats.  Donny Rivette and his Panthers crew are understandably excited as their team has the chance to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 99/00 season.  Join them for some game time discussion.

The Story: The 2011’12 NHL Regular Season is winding down quickly for the Winnipeg Jets so they will look to play the role of spoiler tonight when they visit the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State.

With only five days left in the season and with no chance of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs,  the Jets are simply running out the schedule at this point, looking for moral victories and for some, competing internally for roster spots on next year’s team.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Jets are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 81 points, seven points behind the 8th place Washington Capitals (88 points) and five points behind the 9th place Buffalo Sabres (86 points).

Including tonight, the Jets have two games remaining on the road and one game remaining at home (last game of the season, April 7th versus the Tampa Bay Lightning). After tonight’s game against the Panthers the Jets will close out their four-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Thursday, April 5th (6:30 p.m. CST) before coming home to close out their season against Tampa two nights later.

Tonight’s game between the Jets and Panthers will be the sixth and final meeting of the season between the two teams with Florida holding the season series edge with three wins to Winnipeg’s two. The last time these two teams played was back on March 1st, a 7-0 Jets victory at home.

The Panthers enter tonight’s game on somewhat of a lukewarm streak. Florida defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime on Sunday night but they have only won four of their last ten games. Florida holds down 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference with 91 points with just three games left in their regular season.

The Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2000.

On Monday the Jets announced that Kyle Wellwood broke his ankle during Saturday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and will miss the rest of the regular season.

The Jets recalled Patrice Cormier from St.John’s of the American Hockey League. Cormier will be in the line-up for the Jets on Tuesday.

Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.

Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to tonight’s game.

Projected Jets line combinations:


Ondrej Pavelec


1st: Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler

2nd:  Evander Kane- Alexander Burmistrov- Antti Miettinen

3rd:  Chris Thorburn – Jim Slater- Spencer Machacek

4th:  Tim Stapleton – Nik Antropov – Patrice Cormier


Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom

Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian

Grant ClitsomeMark Stuart

Offensive Leaders:

Florida Panthers: Tomas Fleischmann (26 goals, 33 assists, 59 points), Stephen Weiss (19 goals, 37 assists, 56 points), Brian Campbell (four goals, 47 assists, 51 points), Kris Versteeg (22 goals, 29 assists, 51 points)

Winnipeg JetsBlake Wheeler (17 goals, 44 assists, 61 points), Evander Kane (29 goals, 26 assists, 55 points), Dustin Byfuglien (11 goals, 37 assists, 48 points)

Injury Report:

Florida Panthers: Jack Skille (shoulder), Matt Bradley (concussion), Jacob Markstrom (knee)

Winnipeg Jets:  Tanner Glass (foot, out for season), Eric Fehr (upper body), Kyle Wellwood (ankle, out for season)

Who’s Next: The Jets next game is on Thursday, April 5th, on the road, against the New York Islanders (6:30 p.m. CST).

QUICKIES…..Join The Illegal Curve Crew tonight at The Cheer Bar & Grill (Osborne and Stradbrook) for the Jets/Panthers game…..