PHILADELPHIA – After an emotional few days, the Winnipeg Jets are back in action against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
The Jets have an opportunity to tie a franchise record with a fourth consecutive road win.
Following a 2-0 start to a road trip — with wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes — the Jets have won three straight (including the 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators) away from MTS Centre.
They play again tomorrow afternoon against the New Jersey Devils and close the swing against the New York Rangers on Tuesday at MSG, so the heavy lifting is just beginning.
“It’s a good feeling in here with the wins, but we need points and we need it to continue,” said Stuart. “It doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure.”
The Flyers have been dealing with a host of injuries but their lineup gets a boost with the return of gritty winger Scott Hartnell, who has been out with a broken foot.
“Obviously, Hartsy is a big part of it,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “We haven’t had a practice with him yet, but it will be good to get him back on the ice and get him moving forward. It’s been a long time without him and we can benefit from having him in the lineup, he brings a lot to the table. We’ll welcome him back.
“It’s really, we’ll see as we go today (in terms of monitoring his minutes). He’s a big body that is capable of scoring goals. He was our leading goal scorer last year. Hopefully he goes out and has 10 hits but I want to see how he’s doing in the game as well. We should understand it’s his first game back after not playing for a long time.”
Neither team had a morning skate, so we’re not sure about line combinations and defence pairings.
After winning two in a row, it looks like the Jets will dress the same lineup. Hartnell is in for Harry Zolnierczyk.
Goaltending match-up is Ondrej Pavelec for Jets and Ilya Bryzgalov for Flyers.
Here’s our best guess about how things start:
Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane, Alex Burmistrov, Nik Antropov
Eric Tangradi, Olli Jokinen, Kyle Wellwood
James Wright, Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn
Grant Clitsome, Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey, Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart, Paul Postma
Ondrej Pavelec (Eddie Pasquale)
Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek
Danny Briere, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds
Maxime Talbot, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo
Tye McGinn,Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Knuble
Brayden Coburn-Nicklas Grossmann
Kimmo Timonen-Luke Schenn
Erik Gustafson-Bruno Gervais
Ilya Bryzgalov (Brian Boucher)