August 27, 2015

Record: 43 – 26 – 13

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Canadiens blow out Jets 7-3

Habs' Eller outscores Winnipeg


Game preview:

MONTREAL — Centre Bryan Little was back on the ice this morning with his teammates but the Winnipeg Jets appear to have two other lineup moves for tonight’s encounter with the Montreal Canadiens.

When the teams faceoff at the Bell Centre (6:30 p.m., TSN , TSN 1290), Little won’t be in the lineup but centre Jim Slater and defenceman Randy Jones look like they’ll be in.

Slater has missed two games with a rib/oblique injury suffered in the team’s Dec. 27 win in Denver. Because of lower-body injuries, Jones has played just two games since Nov. 3.

Little hasn’t played since Dec. 17 when he took a shot off the skate.

“He’s way better today and that’s encouraging for us,” Jets coach Claude Noel said after today’s game-day skate. “It’s taken a fairly big jump (better) today. I’m not sure if it’ll be in Toronto (Thursday) either but it won’t be tonight.”

The decision has been taken to bring Jones back in, likely forcing Mark Flood to the press box

“Randy’s an NHL player and he needs to get back playing,” said Noel, noting Jones has played just nine games this season. “It’s been a while since he played. He sat out a couple of games, a healthy situation and it gave him some more practice time but it’s time to get him back playing.”

The morning at the Bell Centre was a fascinating one, even with the struggling Canadiens not present because they skated at their suburban practice rink.

The local media horde was out in full force for interviews with Noel and with Jets assistant coach Pascal Vincent, a Quebecker whose name has been mentioned for whatever coaching vacancy the Habs might have down the line.

Vincent dutifully answered a long line of questions in French, and also English, but insisted he wasn’t here to comment on the Canadiens’ situation.

Noel, when he began his morning briefing with reporters, was totally disarming, saying in French before he was asked any questions that he was simply more comfortable expressing himself in English. That’s in large part because he spent more than 30 straight years living in the U.S. before moving to Winnipeg in the fall of 2010 to coach the AHL’s Moose.

“It’s difficult to express myself in the language of hockey (in French),” Noel said in French.

His team is coming off a sharp December (10-3-1) spent mostly at home.

“We’ve had such a good run in December and we’ve helped ourselves in the standings,” Noel said. “We got a real comfort level by playing at home. And our team game is way better now.”

The Jets were tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference after their Dec. 31 win over Toronto but at 43 points, find themselves tied for ninth today as they kick off this four-game road trip that goes to Toronto on Thursday, Buffalo on Saturday and Boston on Tuesday.


Updated on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM CST: Adds quotes, details

6:50 PM: Adds first goal of game

7:10 PM: Adds 2 quick goals ny Montreal

7:22 PM: Updates with result after 1st period

7:47 PM: Adds Montreal goal in 2nd period

8:10 PM: Updates with Winnipeg's second goal

8:15 PM: Updates with result after 2nd period of play

8:39 PM: Updates after Montreal's 6th goal

8:58 PM: Updates with 7-3 score

9:15 PM: Game wrap with final score

10:20 PM: Adds quotes

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