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Jets-Flyers Preview

AP - Sports

In their first season in the Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets are making the most of their limited games against teams from the East.

The Jets will look to improve on a 6-1-1 mark against their former conference Friday in Philadelphia.

Winnipeg's .813 winning percentage against the East trails only Chicago, Phoenix and San Jose, and it has only improved through the first two on a six-game trip against teams from the conference.

Wednesday's 3-2 win at the New York Islanders gave the Jets (12-11-4) their fifth straight win against the East.

Mark Stuart, Andrew Ladd and Devin Setoguchi scored second-period goals to build a 3-0 lead. Setoguchi has scored in back-to-back games.

"We gave them some life late, but we managed the game well when it counted most," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Al (Montoya) made some big stops for us and we found a way to hold on."

Montoya made 28 saves against the team he spent two seasons with prior to joining Winnipeg last year.

"It felt really good," Montoya said. "It was especially great to win here against the organization that gave me a chance in the NHL."

Inconsistency against the West has made it difficult for the Jets to budge from near the bottom of the crowded Central Division standings, the only division in hockey with all of its teams above .500. They began the road trip with a 3-1 win at New Jersey after going 0-2-2 in their previous four games.

Top goaltender Ondrej Pavelec played against the Devils and was in net for a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers on Nov. 15. He's 7-3-1 in 12 career games against Philadelphia despite a 3.24 goals-against average.

The Jets have won two in a row against the Flyers and six of their last seven in Philadelphia.

The Flyers (10-12-2) flew south for two games as the hottest team in hockey and were cooled off by Florida and Tampa Bay. Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Lightning gave them consecutive defeats after a 6-0-1 stretch.

They have three goals in their last two games after scoring 14 in the previous three.

"It's unfortunate we couldn't get any points out of this little trip here, but you can't really dwell on it," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "You've got to look forward."

Simmonds missed a first-period penalty shot which would have extended his scoring streak to three games.

Vincent Lecavalier scored a third-period power-play goal in his return to Tampa Bay, where he spent the first 14 years of his career. It was his ninth goal in 20 games after scoring 10 in 39 games in his final season with the Lightning.

It also gave the Flyers their eighth straight game with at least one power-play tally. Their 32.1-percent mark since Nov. 12 is among the best in the league and has brought some respectability to a special teams unit that started the season with six goals in its first 64 chances.

Despite struggling in recent years at home against Winnipeg, the Flyers will be happy to return to Philly. They've won their last four at the Wells Fargo Center, outscoring opponents 18-7.

Philadelphia was without right wing Matt Read against the Lightning due to a lower-body injury. He is day-to-day.

Goaltender Steve Mason, who got the night off against the Lightning, is 2-0-1 with a 0.88 GAA and .969 save percentage in four games against the Jets.

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