Jets hit the road for contest with red-hot Avalanche
Monday, 12.26.2011 / 10:08 PM
NHL.comJETS (16-14-5) at AVALANCHE (19-17-1)
TV: TSN-JETS, ALT (HD)
Winnipeg 6-3-1; Colorado 6-4-0
First of two meetings this season, with Colorado making the trip to Winnipeg on Feb. 19, 2012. The Avalanche split last season's matchups with the Jets' predecessors, the Atlanta Thrashers, avenging a 3-2 overtime loss at home on Nov. 30, 2010, by recording a 4-2 victory on Dec. 10.
For only the second time in the month of December, the Jets leave Manitoba and play a game in someone else's arena. And it doesn't figure to be an easy task, as the red-hot Avalanche enter Tuesday having won a team-record eight consecutive games at the Pepsi Center.
Though true, it's a little unfair to say Winnipeg hasn't won a road game in over a month, because the Jets have only played two of them since a victory in Carolina on Nov. 25. In the meantime, they've been using all their time at the MTS Centre to creep closer to the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Jets have gone 7-2-1 there in December, and have two more home games left this week before they hit the road for a four-game trip to begin the new year.
"We made some strides as a group," forward Tanner Glass said in the Winnipeg Free Press. "The last little bit we left some points on the table we could have snagged. But we grew as a group. With a young team, we're trying to make strides, learn about ourselves and learn about playing the right way, and I think we learned a lot in this homestand."
Not only is Colorado on a tear on its home ice, the Avalanche extended their overall win streak to five straight by snapping a long road skid on Monday. Jan Hejda
and TJ Galiardi
each had a goal and an assist as the Avs won 4-2 in Minnesota to send the Wild to their seventh consecutive loss and win on the road for the first time since Oct. 22. Ryan O'Reilly
and Gabriel Landeskog
also scored to wipe out a pair of one-goal deficits before Colorado scored twice in the third for the win.
"Down one or two goals, we believe we can win a game," Hejda said. "That wasn't the case earlier in the season."
Blake Wheeler has 3 goals and 2 assists over his last four games for the Jets. … O'Reilly has goals in consecutive games for the Avalanche.
Winnipeg forward Bryan Little (foot) is day-to-day. Defensemen Derek Meech (lower body) and Randy Jones (upper body) are on injured reserve. … Colorado forward Brandon Yip
has missed the last seven games with a groin injury. Forwards Peter Mueller
(concussion), Chuck Kobasew
(head) and David Jones
(groin) and defenseman Ryan Wilson
(head) are on injured reserve.
The Jets are still looking for their first win this season when trailing after the first period (0-7). … Landeskog has 2 goals and 2 assists over the past five games for the Avalanche and is tied for seventh in rookie scoring with 17 points.
Colorado has received stellar play from its goaltenders during the current run. On Monday, veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere
was named the NHL's Third Star for the past week after winning all three of his starts with a 1.60 goals-against average and .951 save percentage. Then, later that night, Semyon Varlamov
turned in his best outing in several weeks by stopping 20 of 22 shots to defeat Minnesota.