The Jets look to conclude their six-game homestand (with tonight being the fifth and last game in Winnipeg as the Heritage Classic in Regina on Saturday is considered a home game for Winnipeg). The Kings come in fresh from a 4-1 win over the Flames this past Saturday although they currently are tied for the bottom spot in the Pacific.
No morning skate for Winnipeg today so the presumption based on yesterday’s practice is the lines and D pairs will remain unchanged. Coach Maurice hasn’t indicated who gets the start tonight. Media availability is at 10:30 AM.
While there wasn’t a formal morning skate a few players took to the ice according to Ken Wiebe of The Athletic Winnipeg including Laurent Brossoit and Mason Appleton. Which, according to Ken, points towards the fact that Connor Hellebuyck will start and there will be no lineup changes.
Defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, who has been out since the final pre-season game where he suffered an upper-body injury and was expected to miss a month, was skating today at the optional according to Jamie Thomas of Jets TV.
Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun adds that Tucker Poolman was out skating while Anthony Bitetto was not. We shall see if that changes the D pairs.
Health Update/Lineup Notes:
Tucker Poolman is out tonight as he is dealing with a minor injury according to coach Maurice. He also indicated that Anthony Bitetto, who was day-to-day, is back in the lineup. The Jets bench boss didn’t reveal his D pairings so we will have to wait until warm up tonight to see who he pairs on D. He did confirm that Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in net.
Bitetto will pair up with Dahlstrom which means Kulikov goes into Poolman’s spot beside Morrissey based on pre-game warm up skate.
Projected lines and D Pairs:
Coach Maurice: Lineup changes? Does he have a better sense of confidence in his players to use in a shootout. On the decision to defer shooting first. What is his biggest takeaways from the 10 game block? Are individual rivalry’s good for hockey? On the change to their blueline. What has stood out from Ville Heinola’s first seven games? Working with teenagers. On the lack of goal scoring, especially 5 on 5. On the fine line between scoring/defending. Building consistency in their game.
All audio courtesy of TSN 1290 Winnipeg.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm CDT. Be sure to head over to illegalcurve.com following the game for a recap of the action which includes post-game audio from the Jets room as well as from Coach Maurice.