Above Image Courtesy of MavercKings
Puck Drop: 4:00 PM
Location: Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Az
By ALAN FERGUSON, STATS Writer
The reincarnated Winnipeg Jets are still seeking their first win. If they can record that milestone Saturday night, their fans will probably consider it worth the wait.
The Jets meet the Phoenix Coyotes, the franchise that left Winnipeg 15 years ago, in the finale of a two-game trip.
After falling 5-1 to Montreal in its opener Sunday, Winnipeg couldn’t build on Jim Slater’s(notes) two early goals Thursday and let Chicago rally for a 4-3 win. Kyle Wellwood(notes) scored with 5:26 remaining in the second period, but the Jets (0-2-0) couldn’t find the equalizer.
“You get up 2-0 and you’d like to think you can hold on to it for a while, but it’s like golf. It’s 18 holes. It isn’t done in the first three holes,” coach Claude Noel said.
Winnipeg will try for a more complete effort while attempting to ruin the Coyotes’ home opener.
“It’s the old Jets against the new Jets,” Winnipeg forward Tanner Glass said. “We’re trying to win that (matchup).”
Phoenix (1-1-1) concluded its season-opening trek with a 5-2 win over Nashville on Thursday. Four players scored their first goals of the season as the Coyotes sprinted to a 4-0 lead in the opening 32 minutes. Jason LaBarbera stopped 23 shots in his first start.
“That’s big for us to get off the schneid so to speak and get going in the right direction,” forward Shane Doan(notes) said.
Doan is one of three players from the 1995-96 Jets that are still in the league. Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne and Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin are the others.
The Phoenix captain will become the first of those three to meet the new Jets franchise and will try to help his team add to its dominance over the former Atlanta Thrashers.
The Coyotes have won 12 of 14 overall matchups and seven of eight at home. The Thrashers recorded their only win in the series Nov. 23, 2003, and went 0-6-1 with a tie in Phoenix.
The past four meetings have been decided by one goal or in a shootout. During the most recent one Feb. 17, Lauri Korpikoski and Martin Hanzal scored late in the second period to lead the Coyotes to a 4-3 home victory.
Ondrej Pavelec took the loss in that game and has given up nine goals in the Jets’ first two contests. That might have Noel looking to give Chris Mason(notes) his first start.
Mason is also 5-0-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average in his last six starts against Phoenix, while Pavelec is 0-1-1 with a 2.91 GAA in his two all-time matchups.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett might turn back to Mike Smith, who gave up one goal in a shootout loss to Dallas on Monday after allowing six in a defeat in San Jose last Saturday. Smith has won four straight over the Jets franchise while posting a 2.20 GAA, earning three of those wins last season while with Tampa Bay.
The 35-year-old Doan, who has a team-best three goals, has scored three times and added three assists during a five-game point streak in the series.
Game Preview Courtesy of YahooNHL.com