Paul Maurice Makes Debut As Jets Battle ‘Yotes: Preview

Monday night will be game one of a fresh start for the Winnipeg Jets (19-23-5), when they continue their home-stand against the Phoenix Coyotes (21-14-9) with a new man behind the bench.

Jan 11, 2014; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom (39) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets’ season-high five-game losing streak will be put to the test once again, as Winnipeg looks for their first win since New Year’s Eve. The Jets have won only three games of their last five, allowing six goals in four of those games. On Saturday night, the Jets lost game #5 of 2014, doubled up 6-3 by the Columbus Blue Jackets at home. The Coyotes are coming off two straight losses, including their most recent game, a 5-3 loss to the NHL’s best team, the Anaheim Ducks. Phoenix has also only won three of their last 10, although they have points in six of those games. This game will be the first of three this season between the two teams, with one in each arena following Monday’s match-up. All-time, the Jets and Coyotes have each won a game against each other, with both previous meetings coming in 2011-12.

The Jets will look for a change of pace, as Al Montoya makes his way back to the crease to start his first game in over a week. Montoya, who has won six of his last eight decisions, has a .921% save percentage and 2.31 GAA in 15 games this season. Mike Smith will start for the Coyotes, after Tomas Griess gave the 31-year old a night off against the Ducks. Smith, who has appeared in 37 games this season, has a .910% save percentage and 2.89 GAA, as well as one goal to add to his defensive totals.

The Coyote’s only injury is to veteran defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who has missed nearly a month with a lower-body injury. The Jets’ sniper Evander Kane will not be returning to the lineup, after sitting out Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets with a hand injury. Also missing for the Jets are Jim Slater (hernia), Matt Halischuk (broken arm), Paul Postma (blood clot), and Grant Clitsome (back), who are all on Injured Reserve.

The Jets’ new hire is Paul Maurice, as the team wasted no time firing Claude Noel after dropping their fifth straight on Saturday. Maurice has coached 1,084 games with the Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers, as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs. One of Maurice’s first big decisions was keeping Dustin Byfuglien as a forward for the second straight game, following his Jets debut in the top six forwards on Saturday. Maurice entered Winnipeg on Sunday night, giving him less than 24 hours to sign a contract and prepare for his first game behind the bench.

The Jets have won three of their last four at home, and sit with a 10-10-4 record at the MTS Centre this season. Winnipeg has struggled against their fellow Western Conference teams, with an 8-14-4 record. The Coyotes have a 12-9-6 record in-conference, and are 9-7-6 on the road this year.

You can watch the game on TSN Jets, as well as listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Non-regional viewers can see the game on Fox Sports-Arizona Plus. Game Time is 7:00 Central Time. You can also find Winnipeg Jets tickets available for the game as well.

 

Thanks for reading. For more Winnipeg Jets conversation and live game updates follow us on twitter @hkyattheforksFor a Coyotes perspective on the game, head over to our friends at howlinhockey.com.

Topics: Phoenix Coyotes, Winnipeg Jets

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