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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 19th (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (0-0-0) at Winnipeg Jets (0-0-0), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Winnipeg Jets will begin their second season since relocating from Atlanta, as they welcome the Ottawa Senators to the MTS Centre on Saturday.
The former Atlanta Thrashers had an inconsistent season in 2011-12 and wound up finishing eight points out of a playoff spot. Winnipeg did fare well at home in 2011-12, going 23-13-5 in Manitoba compared to a 14-22-5 mark everywhere else.
After beginning the lockout-shortened season at home, Winnipeg will play five of its next seven games on the road.
Meanwhile, after earning a surprise trip to the playoffs in 2011-12 the Senators won't be sneaking up on anybody this season.
Ottawa was expected to be near the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season, but instead the club wound up qualifying as the eighth and final playoff seed. The Senators lost in the opening round, but were impressive nonetheless, pushing the top-seeded New York Rangers to seven games before bowing out.
The Senators exceeded just about everybody's expectations with a 92-point season in 2011-12, an 18-point improvement from the previous year.
The breakout star of Ottawa's 2011-12 campaign was clearly defenseman Erik Karlsson, who at 22 years of age, joined Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin as the only players under the age of 23 to win the Norris Trophy. With 19 goals and 59 assists, Karlsson had 25 points more than the NHL's next highest-scoring defenseman in 2011-12.
The Senators also have captain Daniel Alfredsson back for a 17th season -- all of which have come in Ottawa. During the offseason, the 40-year-old forward announced he was putting off retirement for at least another year, but it remains to be seen what Alfredsson forward can offer this season. The classy Swede had 27 goals and 59 points in 2011-12.
Ottawa won three of four games against the Jets last season and has taken five of the last eight matchups in this series. The clubs split a pair of games in Winnipeg in 2011-12.
The Jets enter the season with some injury issues as defenseman Zach Bogosian (wrist) and forward Antti Miettinen (upper body) are out indefinitely. Meanwhile, forward Nik Antropov is questionable for Saturday's contest with an upper-body injury.
01/19 10:43:55 ET