The Jets had two straight losses in their past week, falling in overtime to the New York Islanders, and most recently, losing 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. The Senators didn’t fare any better, falling to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, and the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. The Sens wrap up a four-game road trip with the game on Saturday, while the Jets close out a three-game home stand. In their only meeting of the season thus far, the Senators defeated Winnipeg 4-3 on January 2nd, which started a five-game losing streak that ended Claude Noel‘s reign as head coach. Since Paul Maurice took over, the Jets have a 10-4-2 record. The Senators have gotten the best of the Jets in the past, holding a 6-2-0 record all-time.
The Jets will stick with the “hot hand” in net, as Ondrej Pavelec will make his fifth straight start. Pavelec made 38 saves in the loss to the Kings, and has been solid ever since returning from the Olympics. He is 20-23-5 with a .905% save percentage and 2.91 GAA this season. The Senators will likely start Craig Anderson, who played in both games of the teams’ back-to-back during the week. Anderson allowed four goals against in Ottawa’s loss to the Flames on Wednesday, and has lost three of his last five starts. He is 20-14-8 with a .907% save percentage and 3.08 GAA in 45 appearances this season.
The Jets will remain without centers Mark Scheifele (knee) and James Wright (ankle), meaning that John Albert will likely draw in for the first time since being recalled on Thursday. Chris Thorburn is listed as day-to-day and did not play against the Kings, and is a game-time decision. The Sens have a healthy lineup going in to Saturday’s match-up.
Ales Hemsky was acquired by the Senators on trade deadline day, just hours after playing his final game with the Edmonton Oilers against them. Hemsky had 2 shots and 15:55 of ice time in the Sens’ game against the Flames the next night. The Jets kept mum on deadline day, but tweaked their lineup to account for recent injuries. Michael Frolik will center the teams’ top line for the second straight game.
The Jets are 14-10-2 against Eastern Conference opponents, and have a 15-12-5 record at home this season. The Sens hold a 7-11-4 record against Western Conference teams, but are 5-2-2 against the Jets’ Central Division. They are 14-13-6 on the road.
Ottawa desperately needs a win, as they trail the Detroit Red Wings by six points for the final Wild Card spot in the East prior to the game. The Jets are in the same situation, trailing the Dallas Stars by three points, with the Stars holding two games in hand. Both Dallas and Detroit are inactive on Saturday.
You can see the game nationally on CBC, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Puck drop on the Saturday afternoon game is 2:00 PM Central time, 1:00 PM Eastern.
As always, thanks for reading. For more Winnipeg Jets conversation and live game updates follow us on twitter @hkyattheforks.