Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flyers-Jets Preview

The last time the Winnipeg Jets graced the City of Philadelphia, they failed to score a goal.

If that wasn't enough, Bob Clarke pulled off a trade with the St. Louis Blues which netted the Flyers one Dale Hawerchuk -- then the Jets' all-time leading scorer.

The deal was necessary to replace the offense lost when "Legion of Doom"er Mikael Renberg went down with a stomach-muscle pull which cost him much of the final one-third of the season.

That was March 16, 1996.

The game was played at the now-demolished Spectrum. Ron Hextall closed the doors with 17 saves, while John LeClair, Shjon Podein and Pat Falloon provided the offense in a 3-0 victory.

Six days later, the Jets topped the Flyers by a 4-1 count in the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena. Craig Janney scored a pair of goals, and none other than discarded former backup Dominic Roussel earned the win with 25 stops.

It put the capper on the all-time series, won by Philadelphia 29-16-2, including an 18-6-0 mark on South Broad Street.

Enter the Winnipeg Jets version 2.0, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers.

Once the Orange and Black's (and Antero Niittymaki's) personal whipping boys, the new Jets have beaten Philly in seven of the last eight meetings over the last two seasons.

It's a stunning turnaround for the initerant franchise, which prevously lost 14 straight games to the Flyers and 17 of 18 from February of 2004 until February of 2009.

Included in the new run of success is a four-game winning streak in the Quaker City, a streak which will be likely to continue if the home team plays in a similar manner as their recent run of three losses in five games has indicated. Atlanta's Winnipeg comes in with a 6-13-2-1 record here since arriving in the NHL in 1999.

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