The Winnipeg Jets (14-14-5) are back in the groove after losing a pair of one-goal games to two of the Central Division’s toughest teams. Now that the Dallas Stars (14-11-5) come to town, the Jets will try for their first home win in a month on Saturday afternoon.
The Jets returned home from a 6-game road trip to face the St. Louis Blues, and Colorado Avalanche, the latter of which the Jets fell to in a shootout on Thursday evening. The Stars were thumped by the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2, and then fell to the Nashville Predators 3-1 in their most recent outing on Thursday. The Jets and Stars have split their 5-game season series to this point, with a win apiece. All-time, the Jets hold a 2-1 record against Dallas. Both teams share a 3-way tie for 4th in the Central Division with the Nashville Predators, in which the Stars hold the tiebreak, and are 3 games behind Winnipeg.
Winnipeg continues to struggle within their own division this year, where they’ve picked up 9 of a possible 32 points. Saturday’s game will mark the final game of a three-game set against Central Division teams for the Jets.
In goal for the Jets will be Ondrej Pavelec, making his third consecutive start. Pavelec has a .912% save percentage, and a 2.73 GAA in 26 appearances this year. Pavelec made 22 saves, but let in three goals in his most recent showing. Kari Lethonen will be his opponent for the Stars, making his third straight start as well. Lethonen has lost both of his last two games, and is averaging a .921% save percentage, and a 2.42 GAA in 23 games.
The Stars are missing C Vernon Fiddler, who has missed the team’s last two games with a lower-body injury. Other notables for Dallas include defencemen Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas, who are both on the IR with ankle and leg injuries, respectively. The Jets will be missing Evander Kane for the 6th straight game. Kane has been out since suffering a lower-body injury on November 29th, and is described as “more than day-to-day”. The Jets are also without Paul Postma, Zach Bogosian, and Jim Slater, who are all on the Injured Reserve.
The Jets’ power-play, ranked 28th NHL-wide, has found the net three times in the last two games, and will look to keep that going on Saturday. Despite the improvement, the Jets have still let in 9 short-handed goals this season, tops in the League.
Blake Wheeler of the Jets scored twice in Thursday’s loss to Colorado, making it 4 goals in December for the 27-year old. Wheeler was on a streak of 14 games without a goal before he scored against the New York Rangers on December 2nd.
You can watch Saturday’s game on CBC, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. The game gets underway from the MTS Centre at 2 PM Central Time.
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