Jets hope to capitalize on Pronger's absence
The Philadelphia Flyers' first game without defenceman Chris Pronger did not go well.
The Winnipeg Jets would like the Flyers' second game without their captain to end the same way.
Opening a season-high seven-game trip Thursday night, the Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers franchise, go for a fifth straight road win against Philadelphia, which is trying to rebound from its most lopsided defeat of the season.
Without Pronger, who was hit in the eye with a high stick in Monday's 4-2 win over Toronto and could be sidelined for several weeks, the Flyers (5-3-1) fell 5-1 at Montreal on Wednesday.
Philadelphia allowed just one power-play goal in five chances, but replacing Pronger for an extended period could be asking a lot for a penalty-kill unit that's in the middle of the pack in the NHL at 82.6 per cent.
"He's been a good player in this league for a long time and, obviously, when he's in the lineup, they are a better team and, with him being out, there will be a little bit of a hole there and we have to try to take advantage of that," Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian told the team's official website of Pronger, who leads the Flyers with six assists.
Winnipeg (2-5-1) needs every advantage it can get. It has converted just four of 32 power-play chances after failing in one opportunity in Monday's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Jets, though, are excited about getting away for a while and earning their first road win. They are 0-3-1 away from the MTS Centre.
"It's going to be a lot of team bonding and stuff like that," Jets centre Nik Antropov said.
As the Thrashers, the Jets franchise won three of four against the Flyers last season, including both at Wells Fargo Center.
Antropov scored the lone goal and Chris Mason made 43 saves for his 21st NHL shutout in Atlanta's 1-0 victory at Philadelphia on March 31.
The Flyers have dropped seven of eight in this series since winning the previous 14.
Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec is also off to a rocky start at 1-3-1 with a 3.52 goals-against average, so Mason could be in net again after stopping 15 of 17 shots Monday.
He is 3-0-1 with a 0.74 GAA in his last four starts versus Philadelphia.
The Jets' low-scoring offence (2.1 goals per game) could get a boost if centre Jim Slater returns following a one-game absence after taking a knee to the head in Saturday's 5-3 victory over Carolina.
Slater and centre Kyle Wellwood lead Winnipeg with three goals.
Sergei Bobrovsky might get the nod in net from Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on Thursday in the first of four matchups between these clubs in 2011-12.
Bobrovsky has a 2.01 GAA while winning both his starts this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov allowed five unanswered goals Wednesday and has yielded 17 during a personal four-game skid.
Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr, who has 21 goals and 48 points in 35 games against the Jets franchise, is one goal shy of becoming the 12th NHL player with 650 for his career.