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Laurent Brossoit gets a chance to make another first impression in Winnipeg — this time for real.
The 25-year-old goaltender will start his first regular-season game for the Jets (2-2-0) tonight against the sizzling Carolina Hurricanes (4-0-1) at Bell MTS Place. Game time is 6 p.m.
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is out with an upper-body injury, likely suffered when he tumbled into boards during Saturday’s practice. He’s listed as day to day. Dmitry Kulikov draws in and will be paired with Ben Chiarot.
No other lineup changes are expected as the Jets play their first of six consecutive contests on home ice.
Brossoit, who signed as a free agent July 1, stood tall in his Jets pre-season debut Sept. 17, making 39 saves to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The former Edmonton Oilers back-up won two of three starts in the pre-season, posting a 3.02 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice said he’s been impressed with Brossoit’s work ethic and compete level, both in training camp and during practices early in the campaign.
“It’s something you ask from your guy in the back-up position so that when you put him in, the guys are excited to play in front of him, and our guys are tonight. He’s earned his start,” said Maurice.
“We’ve got a bit of an unusual schedule, in that we come home for six and we’re going to play some conference and divisionals games, and we want to try to manage (No.1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck) and the games that he plays.”
The Hurricanes won’t be a particularly rested club tonight after posting a 5-4 overtime victory Saturday night. Finnish-born right-winger Sebastian Aho scored 2:57 into overtime to lift Carolina to the win at Xcel Energy Center.
Aho had two goals and two assists, and is tied for fourth in NHL scoring with10 points. Veteran forward Justin Williams had a goal and two assists in St. Paul., while ex-Toronto goalie Curtis McElhinney, a waiver-wire pick-up just prior to the start of the season, made 19 saves for the Hurricanes. The Metropolitan Division squad has tied the best start in Carolina/Hartford Whalers history.
Petr Mrazek is expected to mind the Carolina crease tonight.
“They’re a good team, they have good sticks, their skill level is high. We can’t try to do too much coming up the ice, especially early in the game. Make them come 200 feet, make them go and retrieve pucks. That’s not a whole lot of fun to do for 60 minutes, so we have to get into that game because we’re a really good team in the offensive zone,” said Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler.
“This is our longest home stand of the year. We just have to worry about our game tonight. We’re just trying to improve every single day. It gives us a good opportunity to work on some things at home. We have to build that identity at home. The game against L.A. (home-opening 2-1 victory over the Kings) was a good game for us, so we just have to keep building off that.”
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).