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Kyle Turris Set To Return For Coyotes In Historic Matchup Vs. Jets

Kyle Turris is expected to make his season debut Thursday for the Phoenix Coyotes, as they take the ice in a city the franchise once called home.

The Phoenix Coyotes (13-7-3) are coming off a huge 4-1 win against the Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks and are hoping to carry over the dominate performance into Thursday's game against the struggling Winnipeg Jets (9-11-4). 

It is the first time since a 1996 playoff loss that the fans in Winnipeg will get the chance to see their former franchise in action, so emotions are expected to be running high at MTS Centre.  In the teams first matchup, Oct.15 at Arena, the Coyotes came out on top by a score of 4-1.

Turris is coming off a lengthy 19-game holdout that ultimately ended up not playing out in his favor. Coyotes management sat tight through the negotiations, and declined to meet Turris' camps lofty demands. With the Dec.1 deadline for players to sign with a team, or become ineligible for the entire season approaching, the third-overall pick in the 2007 draft signed a two-year deal worth a total of $2.8 million.

The 22-year-old Turris has reportedly showed up in terrific shape, and has added a noticeable amount of muscle during his time off . The center will be taking the ice with a lot to prove, especially considering the Coyotes have done fine without him in the rotation. Entering his fourth season in the NHL one thing is for certain: Whether Turris plans to stay in the desert, or is still hoping to find another home via trade, now is the time for him to prove his worth and play like the offensive weapon he believes himself to be.

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Ray "The Wizard" Whitney had three points (1G, 2A) against the Blackhawks Tuesday night. The three tallies gave him 21 on the season, tying him with Radim Vrbata as the Coyotes leading point getters. 

Goaltender Mike Smith was 43 seconds away from a second consecutive shutout before the Blackhawks put in a garbage time goal Tuesday. Smith is continuing to show that he is the real deal for Phoenix in net. His 12 wins put him only one win behind the league leader. 

Quick note: Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne, Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, and Coyote captain Shane Doan are the only players from the original Winnipeg Jets franchise that are still playing in the NHL.

Game time is 6:30 p.m. MST

TV: FSN Arizona, Radio: XTRA Sports 910