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Preview and GDT: Winnipeg Jets vs Buffalo Sabres

The Jets play their first game of the second half of their 2017-2018 schedule against the basement dwelling Buffalo Sabres tonight.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Winnipeg Jets
Background: Jan 10, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane (9) is hit by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) during the second period at MTS Centre.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Time: 7:00 PM CST

Channel: TSN3, MSG-B

Radio: TSN1290

With the Buffalo Sabres (10-21-9) having played last night in a lop-sided 6-2 loss in Minnesota, it looks as though the team with the second worst record could be prime for another blowout at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets (23-11-7).

In the first of two matches between these teams this season, Winnipeg will look to continue their dominance at Bell MTS Place, where they hold a record of 14-3-1 this season. The Sabres road record of 5-11-6 is also indicative of a potential easy win for the Jets.

Which has me nervous.

The Jets are officially at the halfway point of their 2017-2018 schedule, and it’s never too soon to talk about how important points are. In short, these are points the Jets cannot afford to lose, because if everybody else (including Minnesota last night) is beating this team, you need to too just to keep pace.

The Jets are coming off of Tuesday’s overtime loss to Colorado, in which Blake Wheeler netted two goals before Erik Johnson sent the Jets home with one point. Wheeler has four goals and two assists in his last four games.

Winnipeg can regain top spot in the Central Division with a win tonight.

Will Buffalo stampede the Jets?

Will Winnipeg show the Sabres the meaning behind Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump?

Tune in this evening! Same Jets time (7:00 PM CST), Same Jets channel (TSN 3)!

Winnipeg Jets: 23-11-7

Stat Leaders:

Goals: Patrik Laine (18)

Assists: Blake Wheeler (34)

Points: Wheeler (47)

Goalie Stat Leaders:

Wins: Connor Hellebuyck (21)

Goals Against Average: Hellebuyck (2.38)

Save Percentage: Hellebuyck (.922)

Minutes: Hellebuyck (1,914)

Special Teams: PP 24.2% (4th), PK 81.0% (17th)

Buffalo Sabres: 10-21-9

Stat Leaders:

Goals: Evander Kane (16)

Assists: Jack Eichel (20)

Points: Kane, Eichel (35)

Goalie Stat Leaders:

Wins: Robin Lehner (9)

Goals Against Average: Lehner (2.90)

Save Percentage: Lehner (.911)

Minutes: Lehner (1,698)

Special Teams: PP 12.4% (30th), PK 81.1% (15th)

Winnipeg Jets

FORWARDS

81 Kyle Connor/ 26 Blake Wheeler / 29 Patrik Laine

85 Mathieu Perreault/ 18 Bryan Little/ 27 Nikolaj Ehlers

9 Andrew Copp/ 17 Adam Lowry/ 40 Joel Armia

16 Shawn Matthias/ 15 Matt Hendricks/ 56 Marko Dano

DEFENCE

44 Josh Morrissey/ 8 Jacob Trouba

7 Ben Chiarot/ 33 Dustin Byfuglien

5 Dmitry Kulikov/ 57 Tyler Myers

STARTING GOALIE

37 Connor Hellebuyck

Riding the pine: 35 Steve Mason

Scratched: 52 Jack Roslovic, 3 Tucker Poolman

Injured: 39 Toby Enstrom (lower body, ETA Late January) , 55 Mark Scheifele (upper body, 6-8 weeks), 13 Brandon Tanev (lower body, 1-2 weeks)

Buffalo Sabres

FORWARDS

28 Zemgus Girgensons -- 15 Jack Eichel -- 23 Sam Reinhart

9 Evander Kane -- 90 Ryan O’Reilly -- 21 Kyle Okposo

67 Benoit Pouliot -- 71 Evan Rodrigues -- 29 Jason Pominville

22 Johan Larsson -- 10 Jacob Josefson -- 17 Jordan Nolan

DEFENCE

6 Marco Scandella -- 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

19 Jake McCabe -- 47 Zach Bogosian

82 Nathan Beaulieu -- 41 Justin Falk

STARTING GOALIE

31 Chad Johnson

Riding the pine: 40 Robin Lehner

Scratched: 20 Scott Wilson, 4 Josh Gorges

Injured: 93 Victor Antipin (day-to-day, illness), 27 Taylor Fedun (lower-body, 6-8 weeks from November 16)