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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 7 (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (17-6-5) at Winnipeg Jets (14-9-4), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets found a response to their injury- ravaged blue line.
The Jets look to stretch a five-game point streak on Sunday afternoon as they close out a three-game homestand versus Anaheim Ducks.
Winnipeg played host to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night without defenseman Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome and Tobias Enstrom due to injury, causing head coach Paul Maurice to move Dustin Byfuglien from the wing to defense. It also meant more minutes for recent call-up Ben Chiarot, but veteran Bryan Little made sure his blue line had room for error by potting a hat trick in a 6-2 win.
Little's hat trick was the second of his career and first for the Jets franchise since it relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg. Eric Boulton scored the last hat trick for the franchise on Dec. 18, 2010 when it was known as the Thrashers.
Little added an assist for a career-high four-point night, Andrew Ladd tallied a goal and two assists, and Byfuglien scored for a third game in a row while logging 26 minutes and 24 seconds of action. Chiarot picked up his first NHL point with an assist and Michael Hutchinson had 20 saves.
Winnipeg improved to 4-0-1 in its past five.
"We got really good performances right through the bench," Maurice said. "Everybody had a little piece of that one."
Hutchinson, who has never faced the Ducks, improved to 4-1-2 on the season with a 1.56 goals against average and .947 save percentage. He has not lost in regulation since Oct. 12.
Ondrej Pavelec, who has made 20 starts to Hutchinson's seven, is 1-1-1 lifetime versus Anaheim with a 3.34 GAA and .911 save percentage and could get the start today.
The Ducks take aim at a fourth win in a row but will do so without forward Corey Perry. He exited Friday's 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild in the first period after getting hip checked by Wild defenseman Keith Ballard and had to be helped off the ice.
The club announced on Saturday that Perry would be further evaluated when the Ducks return to Anaheim. He leads Anaheim with 14 goals and is second with 22 points.
Anaheim led 3-0 on Friday, but Minnesota surged ahead by a goal before the Ducks' Tim Jackman scored to tie the game less than two minutes after the Wild went in front.
Matt Beleskey then netted the game-winner with 11:32 to play, his 13th goal of the campaign.
"Giving up a three-goal lead wasn't exactly what we wanted to do, but they pressed hard," said Beleskey. "But we got it done. We got it done on the road and that's what we needed to do."
Ryan Kesler had two goals and an assist, while Frederik Andersen yielded four goals on 25 shots as Anaheim won for the sixth time in eight games.
Andersen, who has made 14 straight starts, is 1-0-0 in his career versus the Jets with a 2.90 GAA and .915 save percentage in two games with one start.
The Jets have won five of their past seven versus the Ducks, but Anaheim notched a 3-2 win in the lone meeting last season in Winnipeg.
12/07 10:30:58 ET
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