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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 16th (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (20-23-5) at Calgary Flames (16-25-6), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets aim to pick up their second victory under new head coach Paul Maurice on Thursday night as they visit the Calgary Flames.
The Jets lost a season-high fifth game in a row on Saturday and the following day fired head coach Claude Noel. He was replaced by Maurice, who coached his first NHL game on Monday since being let go by the Carolina Hurricanes in November of 2011.
Despite minimal time with his new team, Maurice picked up a 5-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in his debut.
The Coyotes scored first at 12:16 of the opening period, but Olli Jokinen responded just 36 seconds later and Eric O'Dell's second career goal put Winnipeg ahead for good before the end of the frame.
"They did the one thing we had talked about that when adversity came to the doorstep that next goal was huge," said Maurice. "The bench didn't get quiet, we stayed positive and that's the start of the foundation of handling adversity over the course of the game and sticking with it."
Blake Wheeler added his club-leading 17th goal of the campaign and Devin Setoguchi and Michael Frolik also scored, while Ondrej Pavelec made 18 saves.
"I think we did a good job of being ready to play tonight," said Winnipeg winger Andrew Ladd. "We have some more work to do in getting down (Maurice's) system that he wants us to play, but we have plenty of time to get it going and make a push for the playoffs."
Setoguchi, is questionable to play tonight due to illness, while fellow forward Evander Kane is expected to miss his third straight game due to a hand injury.
While the Jets find themselves 10 points out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, it is a steeper climb for the Flames, who sit 13th in the conference and 17 points behind that final playoff spot.
Calgary has lost eight of its last 10 games, shut out five times in that span while totaling just 10 goals.
The Flames did blank the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Monday, but fell in defeat the following night 4-2 to the Nashville Predators, who got a pair of goals 2:40 into the third period to snap a tie game.
Lee Stempniak and Mikael Backlund both scored in defeat, with Jiri Hudler assisting on both goals and Karri Ramo recording 30 saves.
"We weren't ready coming into the third period," admitted Backlund, who scored in his third straight game.
Calgary played a second straight game without forward Michael Cammalleri, who is out with a concussion.
The Flames have won four in a row over the Jets franchise, including a 5-4 shootout victory in Winnipeg on Nov. 18.
The Jets also have never won in Calgary dating back to their days in Atlanta, going 0-6-0 all-time on the road in this series.
Ramo is 0-0-1 with a 3.30 goals against average in two career meetings with the Jets, including one start, while rookie Reto Berra made 43 saves in the shootout win that went eight rounds.
Rookie Sean Monahan had the winner in the tiebreaker, while Cammalleri and T.J. Brodie had a goal and an assist in regulation.
Pavelec is 0-2-0 with a 4.12 GAA in two previous starts against the Flames. Backup Al Montoya took the loss in November with 29 saves.
01/16 10:59:58 ET
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