Fading Jets take on Senators

A key battle in the Eastern Conference playoff race is on tap tonight in Winnipeg, as the desperate Jets welcome the Ottawa Senators to the MTS Centre.

The Senators are currently the seventh seed in the East and are sitting two points ahead of Buffalo and Washington. Ottawa is also four points behind sixth-seeded New Jersey. The Sabres, Capitals and Devils are all idle tonight.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, is the East's 10th seed and is six points behind the Sabres and Capitals with just seven games left on its regular-season docket.

Neither the Senators nor the Jets have been playing their best hockey of late, but Ottawa was able to end a three-game slide with Saturday's impressive win over visiting Pittsburgh. Winnipeg lost a regulation decision Saturday in Nashville, dropping the Jets to 1-3 over their last four contests.

Tonight's tilt marks the fourth and final encounter between the Jets and Senators this season. The Sens claimed the first two meetings before Winnipeg recorded a 2-0 win in Ottawa on Jan. 16.

Ottawa had scored just two goals during an 0-3 stretch from March 17-23, but broke out of that slump in a big way with Saturday's 8-4 rout of the visiting Penguins. Pittsburgh was 13-0-1 in its previous 14 games before getting dealt the lopsided loss in Canada's capital city.

Daniel Alfredsson registered two goals and two assists to lead the way for the Sens. Milan Michalek supplied a goal and two assists, and Nick Foligno earned three helpers for the Senators.

"We talked about how we need a total team effort for us to win games and that's what we got tonight," said Senators forward Jason Spezza.

Ben Bishop gave up three Pittsburgh goals on 20 shots before leaving in the second period with a lower-body injury. Craig Anderson made 19 saves in relief and is expected to start tonight.

Ottawa is kicking off a three-game road trip tonight and is 18-13-6 as the guest this season.

The Jets erased a 3-0 deficit to earn Friday's overtime win in Washington, but Winnipeg was dealt a 3-1 loss the following night in Nashville. Tim Stapleton had the lone goal for Winnipeg, while Ondrej Pavelec had 25 saves in defeat.

"You look at the game, we got shots, but very few quality shots, very few scoring chances," Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said. "It was very little penetration inside the dots. Very few second and third opportunities and I thought they did a good job of keeping us to the outside."

The Jets, who are 23-11-4 at home compared to a dreadful 12-21-4 mark in away games, are playing the first of two straight as the host tonight. Winnipeg will also welcome the New York Rangers to town on Wednesday.

On the injury front for Winnipeg, Eric Fehr has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury, while fellow forward Nik Antropov has sat out three in a row with a lower-body issue. Both players are questionable for tonight's game.