Mason gets start vs. Hurricanes
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Chris Mason will put his undefeated record against the Carolina Hurricanes on the line Monday night at RBC Center. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
Chris Mason will put his undefeated record against the Carolina Hurricanes on the line Monday night at RBC Center.
The backup Jets netminder is 3-0 against the Canes this season, so he will be between the pipes for a relatively important Southeast Division clash for January. The Jets are three points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference, while the last-place Hurricanes are only seven points back of Winnipeg.
“We have to be ready,” Mason said. “Just looking at the standings alone, every night has implications. So it’s no different tonight, and sometimes you can take the break before you actually get to the break, so we have to make sure that we’re mentally ready to go tonight first.”
Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said deciding to start Mason didn’t take a lot of brain power.
“If the guy has success against a team, he feels comfortable, it’s a pretty easy decision,” Noel said. “Chris is going to play one of the three games, and it would be a logical choice to play this game.
“But there’s no guarantees in games. Carolina’s been going good. Their goaltending’s been going good of late. They’re playing a lot of low-scoring games, so it’s going to be all we can handle here. Mason’s going to have to be good.”
The Jets, who play their final game before the all-star break on Tuesday night in New York against the Rangers, will be without defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, and forwards Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton. They are all injured and remain in Winnipeg.
The Hurricanes are 7-2-1 in their last 10 home games, and the red-hot Cam Ward will get the start in net for the hosts.
“We’re starting to learn how to win some of these tight games now,” Carolina head coach Kirk Muller said. “We haven’t got ‘em all yet, but we know this team is going to come hard. They’re going to come after us, and we gotta be ready for a high tempo type game, which is good for us.
“We gotta be prepared, because this is our last game before the break.”
It appears Mark Flood will once again be the extra defenceman for the Jets and watch the contest from the press box.
BIG BUFF OUT FOR ALL-STAR GAME
In other Jets news, Byfuglien has been officially replaced for this weekend's all-star game in Ottawa. Pittsburgh's Kris Letang will take Byfuglien's spot, meaning the Jets won't have a representative in the contest.