In a bizarre quirk of the schedule tonight will be the fourth and final regular season match between the Jets and Blues tonight at Bell MTS Place. To date Winnipeg has done well against their central division rival from St. Louis winning the three previous games by a combined score of 18-9 including Patrik Laine’s five goal game the last time they played.
The Jets are 17-8-2 on the season which remains good enough for 3rd spot in the Central Division. They are just three points back of 1st place Nashville (with two games in hand) and sit three points up on Dallas who hold the first wild card spot (with one game in hand).
According to Jets correspondent Scott Billeck it looks like the Jets have some more bodies back today at Bell MTS Place with Dmitry Kulikov, Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien all skating although it wasn’t all good news as Andrew Copp isn’t out there. Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun indicated that Mark Scheifele is likely exercising his option this AM while Connor Hellebuyck did his starting goalie drills.
Projected Jets lines, D pairs and starting goalie:
Coach Maurice: Health updates. Keeping Niku with Trouba? Was it comfort or did he notice something about Niku’s game? On Mason Appleton and why is Lemieux ahead of Petan? His thoughts on Trouba’s game. On the good things Laine is doing aside from goal scoring. Does he anticipate Niku’s growing curve will be the same as Morrissey? On Niku’s offensive upside being higher than Morrissey’s?
All audio courtesy of TSN 1290 Winnipeg.
Coach Maurice was asked about the list of players who were possible to return or are still dealing with injuries including Dustin Byfuglien, Dmitry Kulikov, Josh Morrissey, Andrew Copp as well as Joe Morrow and he indicated “Byfgulien and Kulikov are in. Morrissey’s really close but we are going to hold him out one more. We think we can get him as near as 100% as a hockey player ever gets for the Philly game so I have a high expectation. Copp and Morrow skated this morning with really good results so neither one of them is in but they’re moving in the right direction.”.
The Jets have placed Andrew Copp on IR while both Dustin Byfuglien and Dmitry Kuliov have been activated from IR.
Projected Blues lines, D pairs and starting goalie:
Puck drop is at 7 pm. 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.