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Montoya to start against Flyers tonight

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WINNIPEG — It’s a rare admission but Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel confirmed ahead of tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers that goalie Al Montoya (2-0-0) is getting a second straight start.

Noel usually has some quip for reporters who ask him about it before games, or he stonewalls like a reluctant witness.

"There were a few things ... do you know he’s starting? ... but a couple of things," Noel began his answer this morning. "He played a good game last game (a 1-0 shutout win in Ottawa)."

There was a message for Pavelec (3-5-1 so far), too.

"I think in a shortened season, I don’t think you have the opportunity to give somebody the chance to get in a groove," the coach said. "That’s one thing that came into play.

"The other thing is that Pavs is coming off the flu-like symptoms (last Friday) and was farily sick and we just want to give him the some more time.

"I’m not one that believes you have to play the guy because he has the shutout. But it’s a good opportunity for (Montoya) to get in a groove and build on confidence."

Tonight’s game (7 p.m. CT, TSNJets, TSN1290) against the 5-7-1 Flyers marks the return of Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

Byfuglien missed five games with an unspecified lower-body injury.

In that time, the 5-5-1 Jets have been all over the map, from terrible to fairly competent, even within games.

"I think consistency from our game is probably the best way to steady the ship," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said this morning. "And getting Buff back helps that.

"Your top players have to be your top players and playing the right way and I don’t think we’ve had that so far. It’s been inconsistent and inconsistent with our game, really."

Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian took some extra skating this morning and it appears likely that his return to action after wrist surgery is still a few more days away.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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