There isn’t any rest in store for the Winnipeg Jets (15-15-5) as they pay a visit to the First Niagara Center on Tuesday, playing the Buffalo Sabres (7-23-3) just 24 hours after taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets back in Ohio.
The Jets beat the aforementioned Blue Jackets 3-2, snapping a 3-game winless streak. The Sabres have only won two of their last seven games, but have been to extra time in four of those. Tuesday’s game will be the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season. All-time, the Jets are 6-0-1 against Buffalo, including a season series sweep in 2013.
In net for the Jets will be starter Ondrej Pavelec, looking to get on track after being pulled during a 6-4 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Pavelec has posted a .909% save percentage and a 2.85 GAA in 27 appearances this season. His 1,599 minutes played is the 4th-highest among NHL goaltenders. His opponent will be Ryan Miller, who has put up a .921% save percentage and a 2.91 GAA in 23 showings this year.
The Sabres are expecting the returns of Cody Hodgson, who missed the last two games with an undisclosed ailment, and Alexander Sulzer, who was on the Injured Reserve after sustaining an upper-body injury against the New Jersey Devils. The Sabres lost Cody McCormick to an upper-body injury in their last game, however, and he will be out 4-6 weeks. The Jets got Evander Kane back on Monday against Columbus, but are still without Paul Postma, Jim Slater, and Zach Bogosian, who are all on the IR, and not slated for a return in the immediate future.
Winnipeg will look to keep their surprisingly hot power-play going. The Jets have scored 5 power-play goals in their last four games, despite being ranked 26th in the NHL in that department, at a lowly 13.3%. The Sabres’ penalty-kill isn’t much better, ranked 23rd league-wide at just over 80%.
The Jets are a solid 9-3-1 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, and just slightly over .500% at 8-7-1 on the road. The Sabres are 4-12-1 at home this year, and are 2-9-1 against Western opponents. The Sabres are 0-5-0 against teams from the Jets’ division, the Central Division. Buffalo is in the NHL’s basement, 7 points behind the next closest team, the New York Islanders.
You can watch the game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Non-regional viewers can see the game on MSG-Buffalo. Puck Drop from upstate New York gets underway at 7 PM Central Time.
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