SENATORS (0-0-0) at JETS (0-0-0)
TV: CBC, RDS
Season series: First of three meetings this season. Ottawa took three of four from Winnipeg in 2011-12, with Milan Michalek scoring five goals and Jason Spezza finishing with two goals and seven points. Craig Anderson posted a .932 save percentage.
Big story: Year Two begins for the reborn Jets, and while the fans' fervor over the NHL's return to Winnipeg doesn't figure to die down anytime soon, more will be expected in Manitoba this season. The Jets were not exactly a disappointment in 2011-12 with their 37-35-10 record, but it left them 11th in the Eastern Conference, eight points out of the final playoff berth occupied by Saturday's opponent, the Senators.
Senators: There are raised expectations in Ottawa as well after the Senators surprised last season by making the playoffs and forcing the top-seeded Rangers to a Game 7 before bowing out in the first round. During the offseason, captain Daniel Alfredsson decided to return for another season. The Senators added Marc Methot to their defense and Guillaume Latendresse up front, while their offensive nucleus should be bolstered by rookie Jacob Silfverberg, who made his NHL debut in the playoffs and will skate on the top line alongside scorers Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.
"I don't know him very well, but I like his attitude -- he seems like a really driven kid and I think he wants to do well," Spezza told the Ottawa Citizen. "I think he expects a lot out of himself and it's probably a little bit of an advantage to him that he's gotten to play those American League games without the pressure of thinking about being called up and worrying about that.
"I think he'll bring a good element to our line and it's good to have more options, for sure."
Jets: Over the past two seasons, Ondrej Pavelec has established himself as a No. 1 goaltender in the League, and while Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and others in front of him will go a long way in determining Winnipeg's fortunes this season, it's the 25-year-old Pavelec who stands as the last line of defense. He posted a 29-28-9 record with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 2011-12 and figures to be a workhorse in this shortened, 48-game campaign.
"He was a good player for us last year," coach Claude Noel told the Winnipeg Free Press. "I'd like him to improve a little bit on the road, along with our team. And if those numbers can improve a bit, great. I don't expect him to carry the team on his shoulders. We'd like him to play the majority of games and see where that goes."
Injury report: Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen will miss the entire season after hip surgery. Defenseman Mike Lundin is recovering from a broken finger. … Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian is out indefinitely following wrist surgery. Forward Antti Miettinen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Forward Nik Antropov is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
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