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Preview and GDT: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers

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With Roberto Luongo injured and Connor Hellebuyck getting the night off, the Battle of the Backups will see Eric Comrie make his season debut.

Winnipeg Jets v Florida Panthers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Time: 6:30 PM CST

Channel: TSN3, FS-D

Radio: TSN1290

The Winnipeg Jets (17-6-4) will be looking to bounce back after a shaky outing in Motor City, having lost to the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 on Tuesday night. They are hosted by the Florida Panthers (10-13-4) tonight, in their first of a pair of games in the Sunshine State.

With Connor Hellebuyck’s numbers dropping over his last five starts, Eric Comrie will be given the chance to start against the Panthers. It will be 22-year-old Comrie’s second career start and appearance, the first being a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 6th in the second last game of the 2016-2017 regular season. Comrie stopped 35 of 39 shots in that contest.

The game against Florida will be the Jets’ second against a team on the outside of the current NHL playoff picture, and should allow them an opportunity to shake out whatever plagued them against Detroit. The bigger test lies ahead on Saturday, but getting caught looking ahead in a schedule is a good way to get burned like a sunbather on Daytona Beach.All red and peeling. It’s a bad scene. Nobody wants that.

Moving on.

Nine of Patrik Laine’s 14 goals this season have come on the power play. I’m okay with that, because:

A) The power play has been dangerous, and could pose problems for the 30th ranked penalty kill in the NHL tonight.

B) He’s on pace for 41 goals, which all count equally no matter when you score them.

In injured goalie news, Steve Mason should be making his return soon, so it’s nice to see Comrie get a chance while he’s up, because contracts say that he’ll be going back down upon Mason’s return. For the Panthers, Roberto Luongo, it looks like an extended time off is in the cards after his injury on Monday night.

Ouch. Hopefully Bobby Lou bounces back soon.

This will be the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season.

RANDOM PREDICTION: Byfuglien scores tonight.

Will the Panthers pounce on the Jets?

Will Winnipeg have more fans at the game than Florida?

Tune in this evening! Same Jets time (6:30 PM CST), Same Jets channel (TSN 3)!

Winnipeg Jets: 17-6-4

Stat Leaders:

Goals: Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine (14)

Assists: Blake Wheeler (29)

Points: Wheeler (36)

Goalie Stat Leaders:

Wins: Connor Hellebuyck (15)

Goals Against Average: Hellebuyck (2.44)

Save Percentage: Hellebuyck (.921)

Minutes: Hellebuyck (1,305)

Special Teams: PP 26.7% (3rd), PK 80.6% (15th)

Florida Panthers: 10-13-4

Stat Leaders:

Goals: Vincent Trocheck (10)

Assists: Jonathan Huberdeau (18)

Points: Trocheck (27)

Goalie Stat Leaders:

Wins: Roberto Luongo (6)

Goals Against Average: Luongo (2.61)

Save Percentage: Luongo (.928)

Minutes: Varlamov (849)

Special Teams: PP 16.7% (25th), PK 75.0% (30th)

Winnipeg Jets

FORWARDS

81 Kyle Connor/ 55 Mark Scheifele/26 Blake Wheeler

27 Nikolaj Ehlers/ 18 Bryan Little/ 29 Patrik Laine

9 Andrew Copp/ 17 Adam Lowry/ 13 Brandon Tanev

85 Mathieu Perreault/ 15 Matt Hendricks/ 40 Joel Armia

DEFENCE

44 Josh Morrissey/ 8 Jacob Trouba

7 Ben Chiarot/ 33 Dustin Byfuglien

5 Dmitry Kulikov/ 57 Tyler Myers

STARTING GOALIE

1 Eric Comrie

Riding the pine: Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Marko Dano , Tucker Poolman, Shawn Matthias

Injured: Toby Enstrom (lower body) ETA Late January, Steve Mason (concussion) ETA maybe within the next week. Concussions are tricky.

Florida Panthers (mostly guess work)

FORWARDS

11 Jonathan Huberdeau-16 Aleksander Barkov-27 Nick Bjugstad

88 Jamie McGinn-21 Vincent Trocheck-62 Denis Malgin

73 Dryden Hunt-90 Jared McCann-71 Radim Vrbata

18 Micheal Haley-17 Derek MacKenzie-7 Colton Sceviour

DEFENCE

3 Keith Yandle-5 Aaron Ekblad

19 Mike Matheson-13 Mark Pysyk

12 Ian McCoshen-6 Alex Petrovic

STARTING GOALIE

34 James Reimer

Voting for All-Star Captains is now open. I voted for Blake Wheeler. Did you?