Banged-up Jets look to slow Blue Jackets
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- If the Winnipeg Jets are going to extend their three-game winning streak when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, they will need a little help from both the farm and the press box.
The Jets (3-2-0) placed winger Mathieu Perreault on injured reserve on Monday with a lower-body ailment after he blocked a shot Saturday in the team's 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He is expected to be out at least four weeks.
Hot-shot prospect Kyle Connor was called up from the AHL Manitoba Moose, and he skated on a line with center Bryan Little and right winger Patrik Laine at practice Monday.
Winnipeg defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is also expected to miss at least two weeks after taking a heavy hit on Saturday. Rookie Tucker Poolman, who has played two games this season, will come down from the press box to fill the void.
Connor, the Jets' first-round draft pick in 2015, said he was looking forward to building on the 20 games he played with the big club last year. He scored two goals and three assists in a limited role.
"It's a great opportunity every time you step on the ice," he told a media scrum after practice on Monday. "Every shift, you have to go out there and prove yourself and play the best you can. It's always exciting (getting back into the lineup) and, for me, just trying to play the same game I've been playing since the start of the year."
Not all the news from the Jets' sick bay was bad, though. Center Adam Lowry, who missed the Saturday game with an upper-body injury, and winger Matt Hendricks, who has missed the first five games after being injured in the preseason, are possibilities for the Friday home contest against the Minnesota Wild.
Jets coach Paul Maurice has opted to give Connor Hellebuyck, who has backstopped the Jets to all three of their victories this season, the night off Tuesday with Steve Mason replacing him between the pipes.
Mason was lit up in his first two games of the season. After signing a two-year, $8.2 million contract in the offseason and being immediately anointed the starter, his early struggles have made him a candidate to be the most expensive backup goalie in the league.
The Blue Jackets come to town having won four of their first five games, but it is how they are winning those games -- having to come back from a pair of two-goal deficits on Saturday to defeat the Wild 5-4 in overtime, for example -- that is drawing the ire of coach John Tortorella.
"You don't want to draw it up this way, but it's all good," he said.
He described his team's power play in the win as "too cute" with too many passes and not enough shooting. He moved players around on both forward lines and defensive pairings, making it clear he wasn't happy with the process.
"They hung in there together, they didn't panic and they grinded out a win. I'm pleased about that," he said.
Updated October 16, 2017