The Winnipeg Jets have become quite familiar with the MTS Centre lately and will try to make the Carolina Hurricanes their next victim in the capital of Manitoba.
The Jets will wrap up a five-game homestand (3-1-0) tonight and are in the midst of playing 13 of 15 games as the host. They have won three straight and six of the previous seven games at the MTS Centre, where they own an 8-4-0 record and posted a 2-1 win over mighty Boston on Tuesday. Bryan Little scored the deciding goal early in the third period and Ondrej Pavelec posted 39 saves in handing the Bruins their first regulation loss since Oct. 29.
Andrew Ladd scored the other goal for the Jets, who have won seven of their last 10 games overall (7-2-1) and sit one point behind Washington for second place in the Southeast Division. Florida is first with 36 points.
"I really enjoyed the game, I enjoyed the win," said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel. "I thought we played a good game, that was a really solid game for us. Pavelec was outstanding when he had to be outstanding."
Noel's team will visit Detroit on Saturday before coming back home for a six- game residency. The Jets are above the .500 mark for the first time this season, while Little owns points in four straight games and has a total of 12 points in his last 10 (6g, 6a). Scoring first has been key for Winnipeg, as evidenced by its 9-3-2 ledger when doing so.
The Jets have fared particularly well in division play, going 5-2-1 against Southeast foes this season. In injury news for Winnipeg, center Nik Antropov (undisclosed) is questionable for tonight and forward Eric Fehr is listed as doubtful with a balky shoulder.
Carolina finally got back into the win column with a 5-3 win over Edmonton on Wednesday, as Jeff Skinner and Jamie McBain each scored a power-play goal and Patrick Dwyer, Chad LaRose and Tuomo Ruutu added goals of their own. LaRose registered his eighth goal of the season shorthanded.
Cam Ward only needed to make 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who put to rest a season-worst seven-game losing streak and improved to 1-1-0 on a four-game road trip. Head coach Kirk Muller also earned his first win with the team after coming up empty in four straight games to begin the new regime.
"It was great," said Muller. "Honestly, I'm not afraid to show emotion. This game has to be about emotion and we have had some tough nights."
The Hurricanes, last in the Southeast standings, will close out the road swing next Tuesday at Toronto and are 4-8-2 as the visitor this season. They are only 1-5-1 against teams from the Southeast and went 12-8-4 in division play a season ago. Carolina captain Eric Staal has posted three goals and five assists over his last six games.
On the injury front for the 'Canes, goaltender Brian Boucher (lower body) and defenseman Joni Pitkanen (upper body) are both questionable for tonight and defenseman Jay Harrison (upper body) is doubtful against the Jets.
Carolina and Winnipeg are playing the third of six meetings this season and the Jets have taken the first two encounters by convincing scores. The Jets won the first matchup, 5-3, at home and recorded a 3-1 victory in Raleigh, NC on Nov. 25. The Hurricanes posted a 5-0-1 mark against the Winnipeg franchise in 2010-11 and Ward sports a 19-9-3 mark with a 2.91 GAA and one shutout in 32 career appearances in this series.