FROM THE MORNING SKATE IN OTTAWA:
Blake Wheeler will not be in the lineup for the Winnipeg Jets tonight as he did not make the roadtrip with the team after being hit in the throat by a puck in Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils. Alexander Burmistrov will step in on the top line to play with Bryan Little and Evander Kane.
Zach Bogosian will also be out of the lineup for today and tomorrow's matchup. We'll have more to update in a couple of days on when we can expect to see Bogosian back.
Chris Mason will get the start between the pipes for the Jets. His last start came on January 5th, a 4-0 loss in Toronto. The Leafs will go with Craig Anderson who has played excellent as of late going 8-0-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average in his last nine games.
Here are the projected lines for both teams:
Evander Kane-Bryan Little-Alex Burmistrov
Andrew Ladd-Nik Antropov-Kyle Wellwood
Antti Miettinen-Tim Stapleton-Eric Fehr
Tanner Glass-Jim Slater-Chris Thorburn
Toby Enstrom, Ron Hainsey
Johnny Oduya, Mark Flood
Mark Stuart, Randy Jones
Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek
Erik Condra-Kyle Turris-Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins-Zenon Konopka-Bobby Butler
Filip Kuba, Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen, Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips, Matt Carkner
Craig Anderson wasn't included in the Ottawa Senators' group of All-Stars, and he's showing why that may have been a mistake.
Anderson should be in net Monday to help the Senators try to extend their winning streak to five games and beat the struggling Winnipeg Jets for the third time this season.
Ottawa (25-15-6) is among the biggest surprises in the NHL, sitting second in the Northeast Division, one point behind Boston. The strong play and some zealous fan voting helped four Senators - Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson - get elected starters for the All-Star game in Ottawa later this month.
Anderson is building a case that he could have been selected to join them.
Anderson ranks among the league leaders in wins (23), and leads NHL goaltenders in both shots faced (1,219) and saves (1,106). He's already one victory shy of his total from last season, which he split between Colorado and Ottawa.
Anderson has been fantastic over his last nine games, going 8-0-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average and one shutout. He's started every game of the Senators' four-game winning streak, including Saturday's 3-2 shootout victory at Montreal in which he made 33 saves through overtime and two more in the tiebreaker.
"Andy was huge in the shootout," said Alfredsson, who had the decisive score. "Andy played unbelievable and he gave me a chance to win it for us."
Anderson is 7-1-2 with a 2.46 GAA in 11 career meetings with the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, and has been in net to win both games in this season's series. He made 35 saves in the Senators' 4-1 victory at Scotiabank Place on Oct. 20, when Spezza and Michalek had three points each.
Spezza, Ottawa's leader with 47 points, has six goals and three assists in his last seven games. The center also has four goals during a three-game streak.
Facing the Jets (20-19-5) may be a good way for Spezza to keep rolling. He has 11 goals and 18 assists in his last 19 meetings with the Jets/Thrashers.
Winnipeg has dropped five of six and three in a row following Saturday's 2-1 home loss to New Jersey, but coach Claude Noel is preaching patience.
"This is not the time to start beating up on this team," said Noel, whose club has been outscored 21-9 over its last six games. "It's not going to happen, not from my standpoint. If people want to do that, that's fine, but it's not going to happen from here.
"We want effort. We wanted to be proud of our effort (Saturday) and we wanted to work. We wanted to work together, work smart and we got that. That's what we did, so this thing will get itself resolved."
Evander Kane, the team leader with 18 goals, is mired in a season-high seven-game goal drought. He still needs one goal to match his career high set last season.
Kane scored twice in a 6-4 home loss to the Senators on Nov. 29.
Winnipeg may be without right wing Blake Wheeler, who went to the hospital Saturday after being hit in the throat by a shot from the Devils' Petr Sykora.
Wheeler, who leads Winnipeg with 23 assists and 32 points, has three goals and one assist in his last five games versus Ottawa.
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