The Jets are coming off a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night while the Arizona Coyotes lost in OT to the Avalanche on Saturday. The Coyotes have been in Winnipeg preparing for tonight’s contest and also dealing with the loss of defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson who will miss approximately three months with a cracked fibula according to Craig Morgan of The Athletic Arizona.
Will Jets coach Paul Maurice go with the line blender that he used in the 3rd period on Sunday against Pittsburgh or will he return to how things were to start the game? Will rookie defenceman Ville Heinola miss a third straight game or will he get into the starting lineup? And what about 2018 2nd rounder David Gustafsson who hasn’t played a game since the pre-season? And what about injured centre Bryan Little? Lots of questions ahead of the game and with AM skate about to get underway those questions will soon be answered. For now the projections are based on last game (with the exception that Connor Hellebuyck is expected to start in goal).
AM Skate notes:
According to Jamie Thomas of Jets TV forward Bryan Little is on the ice early wearing a non-contact uniform and his colleague Mitchell Clinton added that Little is wearing a tinted visor on his helmet. Mitch adds that Mark Letestu isn’t skating this morning and the lines and D pairs below are from morning skate.
Warm Up Skate:
No changes to the lines or D pairs. Same as morning skate.
Jets projected lines, D pairs and goalies:
Coach Maurice: On inserting David Gustafsson into the lineup for his NHL debut. What can he say about Mark Letestu’s status? What has he seen from Kyle Connor’s game? What is the scouting report for the Coyotes? On Neal Pionk playing a prominent role with the Jets. What would his 700th career win mean to him? On moving around his bottom six. Special teams. Any indication as to when Bryan Little will change to a red uniform?
Audio courtesy of TSN 1290 Winnipeg.
Jets 2018 2nd rounder David Gustafsson will make his NHL debut tonight.
Coach Maurice was asked about Mark Letestu who didn’t take part in today’s morning skate. “He’s out. I’ll just leave it at day-to-day. We’re gonna run some tests and get him looked at. It’s non concussion related. We just gotta get some answers on some questions we don’t have and we’ll go from there.”
Asked if he had any idea as to a timeline for Bryan Little to be switching from a gold non-contact to a regular uniform coach Maurice indicated “Soon I hope. No, because he has to go through the tests. They set that up whenever he feels good and the day he does, he’ll be in red.”
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.
I also appear on the Illegal Curve Hockey Show every Saturday on TSN 1290 Winnipeg starting at 9 am.
And I occasionally jump in the play-by-play booth at Bell MTS Place to provide colour analysis during Manitoba Moose games.