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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (30-31-9) at Winnipeg Jets (32-30-9), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to boost their fading playoff chances Saturday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in an inter-conference clash at MTS Centre.
The Jets saw their postseason hopes take a serious hit during an 0-3-3 slide from March 4-14. Paul Maurice's club has rebounded with wins in two of its last three games, but the Jets still sit six points out of a playoff spot with just 11 games left on their regular-season schedule.
Winnipeg did pick up a much-needed win Wednesday night against visiting Colorado, as Blake Wheeler scored 1:42 into overtime to deliver a 5-4 decision for the Jets. Wheeler carried the puck from the left wing into the right circle, waiting until a mass of bodies crowded the crease before firing a shot past Colorado goaltender Reto Berra.
Wheeler also had two assists for the Jets, while Andrew Ladd scored twice in the win.
"You'd like to be able to close that one out in regulation but that's not the way it works," Wheeler said. "That's not the way it's been this year for us, for whatever reason. We've been through a lot of highs and lows, but the thing you can say about our group is we've stuck with it all year and we stuck with it tonight. It's great that we got rewarded."
Eric Tangradi and Evander Kane added one goal apiece to help the Jets improve to 17-14-6 at MTS Centre this season. Al Montoya stopped 23-of-27 shots for the victors.
The Jets beat Colorado despite playing without defensemen Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien and centerman Jim Slater. All three players could be back in the lineup on Saturday.
Winnipeg posted a 2-1 road win over the Hurricanes on Feb. 4, giving the Jets victories in eight of the past 11 games in this series. Carolina, which is 13- 17-4 on the road this season, has lost three of its last five games at MTS Centre.
The Hurricanes are capping a three-game road trip Saturday after splitting the first two tests, The Hurricanes beat Columbus on Tuesday before falling Friday night in Chicago.
Carolina has lost three of four and 10 of its last 14 games and is nine points out of a playoff spot in the East with just 12 games left on its schedule.
Jonathan Toews scored a tie-breaking short-handed goal in the third period to help the Blackhawks edge the Hurricanes, 3-2. Alexander Semin potted both Carolina goals, while Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots in defeat.
"Every little mistake we make seems to catch us right now," said Carolina coach Kirk Muller. "It's unfortunate because it's not an easy place to win."
Next up for the Hurricanes is Tuesday's home test against the New York Islanders.
03/22 10:50:41 ET