January 31, 2012
Jets set for third meeting with Flyers
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Based on the first two meetings, gamblers shouldn’t have much trouble deciding whether to take the over or the under on Tuesday when the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers meet for the third time this season.
Or will they?
“The odds would say take the over, whatever it is,” Flyers forward Scott Hartnell joked after the morning skate before getting serious. “It’s due for a real tight game, a good defensive game. I don’t care i it’s 9-8 or 10-7, as long as we’re on top this time.”
The Jets have managed 9-8 and 6-4 victories over the Flyers going into tonight’s 6:05 p.m. tilt at Wells Fargo Centre, so it should be interesting as both teams play their first games back after the NHL All-star break.
“I’ve let in 11 goals in the past two games against the Flyers and I’ve got two wins, that’s pretty impressive,” said Pavelec, who will make his 41st start and 42nd appearance on Tuesday. “If you’re going to win tonight, we have to play more defensively. I hope I’m not going to play those wild games again like we did the past two games against them.
“We’re looking to play defensively and score the goals in the game. We need to play differently than we did the past two games against them. At the end of the day, it’s about the two points, right? So if it’s going to be 9-8, I would take it. We need the points and I would take it. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Goals have been hard to come by for the Jets of late, as they’ve been shutout three times in 12 games this month and six times in 50 games this season.
However, going into a building where you put up nine in one game is an immediate boost to the confidence.
“There’s no doubt, when you have success in buildings, you definitely feel a certain way coming in — you feel better about yourselves,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler. “But we gave up eight too, that’s kind of the flip side. Regardless, we won the game.
“We’re all excited about the challenge and getting back and getting this thing going. Hopefully we can take care of business tonight and then worry about the next game.”
Starting the day five points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings, the Jets realize they can’t afford to fall much further off the pace.
“This is going to be an urgent game, a heated game,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “People are going to want to get these two points and this ineresting part is are you going to be able to play four lines? We want to get four lines going, but it will depend on the score and how we play.”
The Jets will be without forwards Evander Kane (concussion), Tim Stapleton (lower-body), Alex Burmistrov (concussion) and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien (knee), but there was some good news on the injury front as Burmistrov and Byfuglien skated with the team again on Tuesday and head coach Claude Noel said both might be “a possibility” for Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Flyers are dealing with some major injuries of their own and will be without defenceman Chris Pronger, forwards Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Zac Rinaldo.
However, it appears Jaromir Jagr will be back in the lineup after dealing with a groin injury.
“I’m going to start, at least that’s the plan,” said Jagr, who has 12 goals and 34 points in 40 games this season. “In the last seven years, I didn’t miss a game. Maybe I don’t know how to deal with the injuries, maybe I’m impatient. I just want to play every opportunity I get.”
Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal for the Flyers.