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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (23-23-5) at San Jose Sharks (32-12-6), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Winnipeg Jets weren't a confident team under new head coach Paul Maurice, they certainly are now after doing something no other NHL club had managed to do this season.
The Jets look to remain unbeaten in five games under Maurice on Thursday night and snap the San Jose Sharks' four-game winning streak in the process.
Winnipeg has not lost since replacing Claude Noel with Maurice on Jan. 12, matching their longest winning streak of the season first accomplished from Nov. 8-15.
The Jets are seeking to win five straight for the first time since April 6-18, 2013 and are coming off a 3-2 victory over Anaheim on Tuesday that was the Ducks' first at home in regulation this season.
The Ducks came into the game 20-0-2 at home, but Evander Kane's short-handed tally in the second period was the difference for the Jets.
Kane also had an assist in his return to the lineup after missing four games with a lacerated right hand. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd also lit the lamp, while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 40-of-42 shots.
"Every time you come to this building it's a tough building to play in," said Pavelec. "It feels good to beat them and be the first team this season. They're great. We battled hard. The penalty kill was key."
Bryan Little added two assists and has logged two goals and six helpers during a five-game point streak.
Pavelec, meanwhile, has started all four games under Maurice and has allowed just seven goals in that span, helping the Jets get within eight points of eighth place in the Western Conference.
"Old teams play with confidence I think. Coach let us know that we are good players and that we can beat anybody," said Pavelec. "He gave us confidence. We know we can beat anybody so that is good but we have a lot of work ahead of us."
Pavelec is 1-1-0 with a 2.34 goals against average in three games (2 starts) lifetime versus the Sharks, who are no cakewalk at home either.
San Jose is 17-2-3 as the hosting club this season and won the opener of a four-game homestand on Monday by besting the Calgary Flames 3-2.
Joe Pavelski lit the lamp for a third straight game, following up his first career hat trick in Saturday's win over Tampa Bay by scoring twice versus the Flames.
Pavelski's 27 goals on the season are tied for second in the NHL and he is four shy of matching the career-high 31 goals he had in 2011-12.
"I feel good. Obviously there are nights when you don't feel your best and still get one or two. But this felt like how it should always feel when you play all the time. It's the way you picture it, I've visualized this a few times. It shouldn't be anything new," Pavelski said.
Tommy Wingels had the other goal, while Antti Niemi allowed two goals on 23 shots for San Jose. Joe Thornton notched an assist on Pavelski's second goal, his league-leading 47th helper of the season.
San Jose is fourth in the West with 70 points.
Niemi has gone 2-1-1 with a 2.91 GAA in four previous meetings with the Jets franchise, making 42 saves in a 5-4 shootout loss at Winnipeg on Nov. 10. Pavelec made 30 saves for the Jets.
The Sharks lost for just the second time in their last eight meetings with the Jets, while the Winnipeg franchise had gone 0-5-0 with a tie in its first six all-time trips to San Jose before a 4-2 victory on Oct. 16, 2010.
01/23 11:06:04 ET