Two teams on very different paths will collide on Thursday night: the Winnipeg Jets (35-35-10) will try to earn a win in their final home game of the year, while the Boston Bruins (53-18-8) try to take one more step towards the President’s Trophy.
The Jets are coming off two days of rest before their season-ending double-header, and most recently, fell to the Minnesota Wild 1-0 on Monday night. The Bruins also played Minnesota in their last game, and were defeated in a shootout 4-3 on Tuesday. The Bruins took the first meeting of the two-game season series on January 4th with a 4-1 victory. All-time, the Jets are 3-4-1 against the Bruins dating back to 2011-12.
The Jets will give rookie Michael Hutchinson his second straight start, after he was strong in his NHL debut on Monday with 17 saves.
The Bruins will likely start Tuukka Rask for the third straight game, after making a 21-save effort in the shootout loss on Monday. Rask is 35-15-6 this season, with .929% save percentage and 2.06 GAA.
The Jets’ injury list grew longer on Wednesday afternoon, when the club announced that captain Andrew Ladd would miss the final two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury. The Jets are already without Mark Scheifele (knee), Chris Thorburn (foot), Grant Clitsome (back), James Wright (ankle), Al Montoya (lower-body), Keaton Ellerby (lower-body), Zach Bogosian (lower-body), and Dustin Byfuglien (muscle tear).
The Jets have six players from their AHL affiliate, the St. John’s Ice Caps, on their roster: Michael Hutchinson, Ben Chiarot, Zach Redmond, Eric O’Dell, Carl Klingberg, and Patrice Cormier, who was recalled by the club on Wednesday.
The Bruins and coach Claude Julien will make a decision on Jarome Iginla on Thursday. Iginla missed the B’s past two games with a lower-body injury. Chris Kelley will miss the game with a back injury, while Adam McQuaid (leg) and Dennis Seidenberg (knee) are out until the post-season.
It wasn’t all fun and games in Winnipeg during Wednesday’s practice, when head coach Paul Maurice subjected the club to a 50-minute ‘bag-skate’. The ice was so bad after the skate that the Bruins’ practice was delayed, as Jets’ ice crews fixed the deep grooves and divots on the surface. The Jets will miss the playoffs for the third straight year since the move to Winnipeg, after they were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 3rd.
Meanwhile, the Bruins have clinched top spot in the Eastern Conference, and have their sights set on the President’s Trophy: Boston’s 114 points has them as the front-runners, with the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks three and four points back, respectively.
The Jets are 17-17-6 at the MTS Centre this season, as they fight for one more win at home in game #41. The Bruins are 23-11-5 on the road, and hold a remarkable 18-4-5 record against the Western Conference this season. The Jets are 15-14-2 against Eastern Conference teams.
You can see the game on TSN Jets, as well as listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Puck drop from the MTS Centre for the final home game of the season is at 7:00 PM Central Time, 6:00 Eastern.
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