Jets look to regroup against Stars

- December 14th, 2013

A must-win game in December?

Say it ain’t so.

As crazy as it sounds, the Jets play the final game of the three-game homestand against Central Division opponents when the Dallas Stars make their second visit to MTS Centre for a matinee affair and it’s clear they need a win to put themselves in a positive frame of mind as they head out for a two-game road trip.

Obviously, must-win is a term reserved for elimination games in the playoffs but for the Jets, their psyche would take another hit if they’re not able to come through against the Stars.

The Jets are 0-1-1 this week, falling 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues and then 4-3 in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche after blowing an early 2-0 advantage.

The Stars (2-6-3)  actually have a worse record within the Central than the Jets do (3-10-3) and while the two teams are tied for the basement of the division with the Nashville Predators, the Jets have played the most games and have the fewest regulation and overtime wins, which is the first tie-breaker.

The past two losses were heartbreakers for the Jets and they know they’ll need to rattle off a lengthy winning streak in order to stay in this race.

Trying to contain Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn is an obvious key for the Jets, who need their top unit to win the head-to-head battle.

The Jets will make one change, inserting Adam Pardy for Keaton Ellerby.

Although Evander Kane (lower-body) skated on Friday, I don’t expect him to be back in the lineup, not with the Jets facing three games in four days here.

As for the Stars, Manitobans Cody Eakin (Winnipeg), Ryan Garbutt (Winnipeg) and Aaron Rome (Nesbitt) are all expected to be in the lineup.

Former Manitoba Moose D-man Kevin Connaughton is also expected to draw in. He’s got a big shot and is a smooth skater.

Here’s how I expect both teams to start on Saturday:

Jets
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Chris Thorburn-Olli Jokinen-Devin Setoguchi
Matt Halischuk-Mark Scheifele-Michael Frolik
James Wright-John Albert-Anthony Peluso

Toby Enstrom-Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart-Jacob Trouba
Grant Clitsome-Adam Pardy

Ondrej Pavelec (Al Montoya)

Stars
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole-Cody Eakin-Alex Chiasson
Ray Whitney-Rich Peverley-Ryan Garbutt
Antoine Roussel-Shawn Horcoff-Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski-Brenden Dillon
Aaron Rome-Sergei Gonchar
Kevin Conaughton-Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen (Dan Ellis)

Categories: Hockey

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