By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
The Winnipeg Jets are headed to the desert — but don’t fret hockey fans — this time they’re going to play the Phoenix Coyotes, not become them.
The 2.0 boys face-off against the ‘Yotes (1-1-1) tonight at 6 p.m. CST in the Jets’ (0-2-0) third game of the regular season, and the second of their road trip before returning home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.
With an estimated Manitoba-contingent travelling south to attend the game at Glendale, Arizona’s Jobing.com Arena to be in the thousands, many will be watching from home for familiar faces in the crowd. The game will be broadcast on CBC and CBC HD in the Winnipeg market.
Thirty-five-year-old Coyotes captain Shane Doan, the Jets’ final first-round draft pick (7th overall) before moving to Phoenix in 1996, is the only player remaining from the original Winnipeg Jets. Saturday mark’s Phoenix’s 16th home opener since the franchise rebranded and moved south.
The newly minted rivals meet once more this season — Thursday, December 1 in Winnipeg. Phoenix has dominated the all-time series against the Atlanta Thrashers with seven wins and a tie in eight meetings.
The winless Jets, who are among six National Hockey League teams to only play two games so far this year, are the only team in the NHL yet to record any points in the standings.