Former Thrashers blown away by media coverage they get as Jets, especially in Toronto

Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets will play their first game in Toronto since moving from Atlanta.

Today, they experienced what it’s like to be the visiting Canadian team at the Air Canada Centre.

James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reported that a “mass of 40 or 50 reporters, cameramen and other media personalities” were in the Jets’ dressing room today — a far cry from what players normally experienced when they were Thrashers.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Jets forward Bryan Little said. “Usually when Atlanta went on the road, it was pretty a empty dressing room. Now it’s kind of the opposite. It’s hard to get around in here.”

For Jets like Nik Antropov, Kyle Wellwood, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Tanner Glass and Ron Hainsey, this is nothing new. Playing in the hockey hotbeds of Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Vancouver and Montreal prepared them for throngs of media both pre and postgame.

But for players that spent their entire careers in Atlanta — Little, Zach Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom, Evander Kane, Ondrej Pavelec and Jim Slater (the longest-tenured Thrasher/Jet on the team) — it’s an eye-opener.

“It’s really crazy,” Little added. “It’s a whole different level [of attention] than what we were used to in Atlanta. It’s not bad. It has its ups and downs. It’s nice to have the attention and following for once but at the same time it puts a little more pressure on the team.”

Game Notes:

Ondrej Pavelec, who was the first star in Winnipeg’s win over Pittsburgh Monday night, will get the start in goal. James Reimer will go for Toronto.

— Evander Kane will return to the Jets lineup after a one-game absence.

— With Ron Hainsey out for two weeks with an upper-body injury, Derek Meech will make his regular-season debut on the blueline tonight for Winnipeg.

— Maple Leafs rookie Jake Gardiner will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. He’ll replace Cody Franson.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.