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Game Preview: Jets vs Sabres

The Jets are in Buffalo, NY to take on the Sabres, Monday night.

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 4:26 PM CT / Preview
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Game Preview: Jets vs Sabres
The Jets are in Buffalo, NY to take on the Sabres, Monday night.

The Winnipeg Jets' stellar homestand boosted their playoff chances, but they still have plenty of work to do over their final three games to secure a postseason berth.

For the second straight year, the Buffalo Sabres will be watching the playoffs from home.

Winnipeg looks to improve its postseason chances by earning a sixth straight victory over host Buffalo on Monday night.

The Jets followed a season-worst four-game losing streak by going 5-0-1 on their homestand, which concluded Saturday with a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Winnipeg (23-19-3) trails the New York Rangers by one point for the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot and Washington by three for the Southeast Division lead.

The Jets, who play at Washington on Tuesday, have only qualified for the postseason once - in 2006-07, when the franchise was located in Atlanta.

"I think it's a point gained (rather than a point lost)," coach Claude Noel said. "We could've gotten none and we got one, so let's move forward and try and win the next game. We're not doing the math, we're just trying to win. Guys know what's at stake."

Captain Andrew Ladd, who has four goals and 10 assists during a seven-game point streak, believes Winnipeg is in the right frame of mind heading down the stretch.

"We're going to stay positive and focus on Buffalo now," Ladd said. "It's easy to sit there and dwell on what we could've done, but we don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves."

The Jets have outscored the Sabres 15-5 while holding Buffalo to one goal in each of the last five meetings, including a 2-1 win Feb. 19 and a 4-1 victory April 9.

Ladd has scored in each of the last four matchups, and the Sabres will look to slow him down after having their three-game winning streak snapped with an 8-4 loss to the Rangers on Friday.

Buffalo (19-20-6), which fired longtime coach Lindy Ruff one day after falling to the Jets in February, will not be in the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons.

"It hasn't been easy," leading scorer Thomas Vanek said. "We've stuck with it, but ultimately we weren't good enough."

Interim coach Ron Rolston became angry at his press conference following Friday's loss despite the team having played well in its previous three games.

"Of course it's disconcerting," Rolston said. "Do you think I'm not concerned about it? Of course it's disconcerting. We lost a game we should have won. We didn't have it, and there's no excuse."

Ryan Miller had another poor performance, allowing four goals on 14 shots before being pulled and was booed by the home crowd. He has a 4.24 goals-against average over his last four starts and a 3.06 GAA while losing his last four versus Winnipeg.

"He's done a lot for this franchise," Vanek said. "Fans are entitled to whatever they want. Personally, I give him a pat on the back. He's won us a lot of hockey games."

It's unclear if Miller or Jhonas Enroth will get the nod in this contest, though the Jets could start Ondrej Pavelec in net.

Pavelec is 5-0-1 with a 2.26 GAA over his last six and has a 1.00 GAA while winning his last five starts versus Buffalo.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 75 24 35 11 59
B. Wheeler 73 24 34 24 58
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
M. Scheifele 75 14 32 10 46
D. Byfuglien 66 16 27 7 43
M. Frolik 75 17 23 4 40
D. Stafford 69 16 24 -14 40
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
J. Tlusty 65 14 15 -18 29
T. Myers 65 7 18 -9 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
O. Pavelec 19 14 7 .919 2.35
M. Hutchinson 20 10 5 .913 2.43
 
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