NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 1st (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (33-33-10) at Phoenix Coyotes (36-27-12), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Greiss and the Phoenix Coyotes hope to rebound from a tough loss when they host the Winnipeg Jets in Tuesday's battle at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix enters Tuesday in playoff position, but the club let a chance to bolster its postseason credentials slip away in Saturday's home loss to Minnesota. The Wild trailed the Coyotes 1-0 after 40 minutes, but scored three times against Greiss in the third period to defeat Phoenix 3-1 and hold on to the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes could have leapfrogged the Wild with a regulation win, but instead are sitting eighth in the West. Minnesota is now five points ahead of Phoenix for the first wild card spot.
Phoenix currently holds a one-point lead over Dallas for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Stars, who hold a game in hand over Phoenix, are playing tonight in Washington.
Greiss, making his third straight start in place of injured No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith, stopped 27-of-30 shots for Phoenix on Saturday. Mikkel Boedker registered the Coyotes' lone goal, tallying on the power play just 3:16 into the opening period.
"There wasn't a lot of scoring chances either way, but you hate to see a lead slip away like that," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett.
Smith suffered a lower-body injury in a 4-3 overtime loss against the New York Rangers on March 24. Although he has resumed skating, Tippett said the club's regular starter's status won't be reevaluated until later in the week.
That means Greiss expects to get a fourth straight start on Tuesday. It would be the 28-year-old German's first career appearance against the Jets.
While Smith is still sidelined, the Coyotes could get forward David Moss and defenseman David Schlemko back on Tuesday. Moss missed Saturday's tilt with a sprained ankle, while Schlemko has sat out the last 12 games with a bruised left foot.
The Jets enter Tuesday eight points behind the Coyotes and the franchise appears headed for a seventh straight season out of the playoffs. The club last qualified for the postseason in 2007, when the franchise was still based in Atlanta.
Winnipeg missed a chance to help its fading playoff chances on Monday, blowing a four-goal lead in a 5-4 overtime loss at Anaheim.
The Jets held a 4-0 advantage midway through the second period. However, the Ducks cut the deficit to 4-1 by the end of 40 minutes before scoring three unanswered in the third period. Corey Perry tied the game with 22.7 seconds left in regulation and Stephane Robidas scored 16 seconds into OT to cap off the comeback.
Jacob Trouba, Matt Halischuk, Blake Wheeler and Eric Tangradi scored for the Jets, who fell to 1-2-1 on a five-game road trip. Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 31-of-36 shots.
"You're just awfully disappointed because you liked so much of what you saw and then to have it go away from you like that," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "It's just frustrating. It's tough to lose a game like that."
The Jets fell to 16-18-4 as the road team this season. The club played Monday without defensemen Zach Bogosian (upper body) and Keaton Ellerby (lower body) and both players are questionable for tonight.
Winnipeg has a chance to sweep the three-game season series against the Coyotes on Tuesday. The Jets have taken three straight in this matchup overall, but the franchise is 0-7-1 with a tie in nine all-time trips to Phoenix. However, only one of those road games -- a 4-1 win by the Coyotes on Oct. 15, 2011 -- has come since the Jets relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season.
The Phoenix franchise, of course, was known as the Winnipeg Jets from 1972-96 before moving stakes to Arizona for the 1996-97 campaign.
04/01 10:47:40 ET