August 30, 2015

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Jets down Leafs 3-2

Game preview

WINNIPEG — Canadian-based rivals with identical records figure to set up another great night at the MTS Centre tonight.

It’s the traditional New Year’s Eve hockey night in Winnipeg between the Jets and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Both teams are 18-14-5 and tied in the NHL standings.

Tonight’s game (6 p.m. CT, CBC, TSN 1290) will be the 12th straight New Year’s Eve with a pro hockey game here, but the consistent tradition of such games goes back to the Winnipeg Jets of 1986.

The only exceptions to the rule since then were in 1994, when the NHL was in lockout, and in 1999, when the IHL’s Manitoba Moose were on the road because a World Junior game between Canada and the U.S. was played at the old Winnipeg Arena.

Jets coach Claude Noel said this morning that centre Jim Slater might be available tonight. Slater missed Thursday’s game here because of a rib/oblique injury.

Missing tonight will be centre Bryan Little and defenceman Dustin Byfgulien.

Little, who hasn’t played in two weeks, is expected to go on the injured reserve list later today so that the Jets can activate defenceman Randy Jones, who has been cleared to play.

Jones may or may not go into the lineup tonight, Noel said.

“When you’re team’s going good, playing well, you kind of have to weigh a lot of things,” Noel said. “It’s not just automatic.”

One thing that should be is the atmosphere in the building tonight for the Leafs’ first visit of the new-era NHL here.

“I think maybe everybody’s going to be jacked up because it’s New Year’s Eve,” defenceman Zach Bogosian said. “It’ll be a good atmosphere like it is every night but maybe tonight it’ll be that much more.”


Updated on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 6:44 PM CST: Adds first goal

7:20 PM: Adds Jets two goals

7:32 PM: Adds fifth goal

7:50 PM: Adds second period summary

8:45 PM: Adds final score

9:33 PM: Adds quotes

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