When: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m. CST
Where: BB & T Center, Miami, Florida
Records: Winnipeg Jets (3-2-1), Florida Panthers (1-5-0)
Television/Radio: TSN-JETS, FS-F/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets will look to erase the memory of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens tonight when they visit the Florida Panthers in the first game of a back-to-back set on the road.
The Jets gave up the first two goals of the game to the Canadiens on Tuesday night but stormed back to take the lead only to give up the game-winning goal while shorthanded for the fifth time of the night. It was an incomplete team game for Winnipeg but not a game in which all was lost.
The Jets once again overcame an early deficit and also got continued production from the team’s top two lines, namely Olli Jokinen, who had goal and an assist and Nikolai Antropov, who scored a goal and continues to center the second line between Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little.
As far as Florida is concerned, the start of the season could not be going any worse. The Panthers have only one win in their first six games (five losses in a row) and are dead last in the standings in the entire National Hockey League. Florida has scored only ten goals so far this season, tied for the least amount in the league. Regular forwards Marcel Goc (27 points last season), Sean Bergenheim (23 points last season) and defenceman Erik Gudbranson (8 points last season) have yet to play so far this year as they were suspended by the team due to injuries they were suffered during the NHL work stoppage.
Update: George Richards of the Miami Herald reported on Twitter this morning that Marcel Goc will make his season debut for the Panthers tonight. Ed Jovanovski (knee) and Scottie Upshall (lower body) might not play tonight.
To compound problems, Kris Versteeg missed the first five games of the season and played just his first game of the season on Tuesday against Tampa Bay (5-2 loss) while Stephen Weiss has missed the last three games with a groin injury.
Today’s game is the first of four meetings between the Jets and Panthers this year. The two teams will meet next Tuesday, February 5th in Winnipeg (7:00 p.m. CST). The third meeting of the season between the two teams will take place in Florida on Tuesday, March 5th (6:30 p.m. CST). The fourth and final meeting of the season is on Thursday, April 11 (7:00 p.m. CST).
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 (subject to change before game time):
Update: According to Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun, Dustin Byfuglien was not at morning skate and Zach Redmond will be in the lineup tonight.
1st: Evander Kane- Olli Jokinen- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Andrew Ladd- Nikolai Antropov- Bryan Little
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky – Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
4th: James Wright- Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom- Dustin Byfuglien (game-time decision)
Mark Stuart- Ron Hainsey
Grant Clitsome- Paul Postma – Zach Redmond (waiting on confirmation as to which D man is out)
Florida Panthers: Brian Campbell (2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points), Tomas Fleischmann (2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points), Alex Kovalev (1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points)- 2 others tied with 3 points
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (0 goals, 7 assists, 7 points), Dustin Byfuglien (3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points), Evander Kane (3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points)
Florida Panthers: Erik Gudbranson (shoulder), Stephen Weiss (groin), Ed Jovanovski (knee), Sean Bergenheim (suspension), Scottie Upshall (lower body injury)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (wrist), Antti Miettinen (upper body)
Who’s Next: The Jets play the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow, Friday, February 1st (6:30 p.m. CST). After Friday’s game, the Jets host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, February 5th (7:00 p.m.) followed by a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, February 7th (7:00 p.m.)
QUICKIES…..The Jets have still not decided if they will be keeping 2011 7th overall draft pick Mark Scheifele up with the big club for the rest of this year. Scheifele has played in three games so far this season but has been a healthy scratch for the last three games…..