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|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 2, 2019
Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba Attendance: 15,321
Ducks seeking spark in visit to hostile Winnipeg
Home is where the Winnipeg Jets flourish, and that is the den the struggling Anaheim Ducks will enter while trying to distance themselves from a disappointing January.
The Jets (33-16-2, 68 points) are riding a six-game winning streak in their own building, which includes a hard-fought 4-3 overtime victory against the Ducks on Jan. 13. The six-game run is tied with the San Jose Sharks for longest current home winning streak in the NHL.
The latest in Winnipeg's string came Thursday, and it was far from easy, as Kyle Connor scored with 1:14 remaining in the game to give Winnipeg a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Connor enters Saturday's game with nine goals over the past 11 contests, and he had two goals in regulation of the Jets' 4-3 shootout victory at Boston on Tuesday, which ended a two-game losing streak. Then, in the shootout, Connor had the only goal.
"He's been really hot," Winnipeg center Bryan Little said of Connor, according to NHL.com. "It seems that guys just take turns catching on fire like that. He's the guy with the really hot stick right now. Just keep looking for him, keep feeding him the puck, and let him go to work."
But Connor is not alone in his success for the Jets, who have won six of their last eight games overall and went 8-4 in January. Center Mark Scheifele has four goals and nine assists (13 points) over his past 11 games, while right winger Blake Wheeler has three goals and 10 assists (13 points) over his last 11 as well.
"It's fun to be part of this group," Connor said. "Everybody from Day 1 is trying to get better. That's what makes this group great. I think everybody's helping each other get to that next level."
Offense like the Jets are producing is merely a dream for the Ducks (21-21-9, 51 points), who are trying to hit the reset button in the first game out of their bye after the All-Star break. The Ducks scored just one total goal in defeats to the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues just before the break.
The Ducks lost eight of their 10 January games, and Saturday's game marks the start of a five-game road trip to open February. Their next game at home will be just their second in 32 days.
In their last three losses, the Ducks have just two combined goals, a run of futility that started after their defeat at Winnipeg last month. They do have two victories since then, scoring three goals in each of those games.
Anaheim hopes the return of right wing Corey Perry will help. After missing the opening four months of the season following right knee surgery, Perry is expected to make his season debut against the Jets on Saturday.
The Ducks, who rank 30th in the NHL with 2.29 goals per game this season, had Perry skate with the top line at practice Thursday, teaming him with center Ryan Getzlaf and left winger Rickard Rakell.
"How much of a positive impact can he have helping that group? Because the group has been starving for offense," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, according to the Orange County Register. "We need offense from them. The combination of the three of them has a unique skill set that has developed and has provided offense before."
Right winger Patrick Eaves (rib), right winger Jakob Silfverberg (hamstring) and center Ryan Kesler (hip) all practiced this week for the Ducks and all could be available Saturday, according to Carlyle. Backup goaltender Ryan Miller (knee) is on injured reserve and not expected to be available Saturday.
Left winger Nikolaj Ehlers (upper body) and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) are listed as day-to-day for the Jets.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019