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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, November 23rd (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (14-5-4) at Winnipeg Jets (10-11-3), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets are in danger of following up their best stretch of the season with their worst.
The Jets try to avoid a season-high fourth straight setback on Saturday afternoon and beat the Minnesota Wild for the first time in three meetings this season.
Winnipeg had won back-to-back games just once this season prior to a four-game winning streak from Nov. 8-15, a run that included three straight shootout victories.
The Jets saw their season-high string of victories snapped with a 2-1 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 17 and have since also dropped a shootout decision to Calgary ahead of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien each had a goal and an assist for the Jets on Thursday, while Keaton Ellerby also lit the lamp and Ondrej Pavelec yielded five goals on 32 shots faced.
"We got what we deserved," Pavelec said "If you play in your zone like we did tonight, you can't expect to get a point. They won the (Stanley) Cup for a reason."
Winnipeg has hit the skids despite going 5-for-13 on the power play over its last four games. That comes on the heels of a 1-for-47 stretch on the man advantage that ran from Oct. 13-Nov. 12.
Byfuglien has been a big part of the surge as he has five goals over his past four games and four of those tallies have come on the power play.
His lone even-strength goal in that span came in the 2-1 loss to the Wild.
Winnipeg is expected to have defenseman Mark Stuart back in the lineup for this meeting with Minnesota. He had been sidelined since Oct. 29 with a hip injury.
The Jets have dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions to the Wild this season -- both in Minnesota -- after winning each of the previous four meetings. The Wild are making just their second trip to Winnipeg since the Jets franchise relocated from Atlanta and first since a 2-1 Jets win on Dec. 13, 2011.
Pavelec has split his four career starts versus the Wild, picking up both losses this season while stopping 50-of-54 shots faced.
The Wild are looking to stay on track today following Wednesday's 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Mikko Koivu tallied the go-ahead goal just inside of three minutes left in regulation as Minnesota rebounded from a 6-2 loss in Montreal on Monday.
The win over the Sens improved the Wild to 11-2-1 in their past 14 games.
"We've been playing great hockey the last month or so, so we can't change things based on one game. I think we showed that tonight," said Koivu, who also had two assists and has logged 12 points in 10 games this month.
Koivu had both Minnesota goals in the win over Winnipeg last weekend.
Dany Heatley and Jonas Brodin added a goal and assist apiece against the Senators for the Wild, while Josh Harding came up with 34 saves to give Minnesota a split of the first two contests of a four-game road trip that ends on Monday in St. Louis.
Harding had never faced the Jets franchise before this season, but has picked up both victories for the Wild while halting 35-of-37 shots faced.
11/23 10:31:08 ET
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