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DENVER — The Winnipeg Jets will be without a major energy source as they try to get back on track tonight in Denver.
Forward Brandon Tanev will not be in the lineup after suffering a hand injury in Tuesday night’s loss against Minnesota. Tanev is flying back to Winnipeg today for further medical evaluation.
“We’ll get an assessment in the early part of next week as to the direction we’re going to go,” coach Paul Maurice said following the morning skate at Pepsi Center.
He wouldn’t elaborate further on whether that meant deciding between surgery or possibly playing through the pain, but Maurice wouldn’t rule Tanev out for the start of the playoffs next week.
Par Lindholm will take Tanev’s spot in the lineup, playing for just the third time since being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline in late February.
“It’s been tough practices. I think my body’s more in shape now than when I came here. So that’s good. I always try to look at the positive stuff. Of course I want to play but I’ve been working on stuff and feel good now,” said Lindholm.
Connor Hellebuyck will start in goal after being rested last game in favour of third-stringer Eric Comrie, who was beaten five times by the Wild. Backup Laurent Brossoit continues to work his way back from a lower-body injury.
Colorado can clinch a playoff spot with either a point tonight, or a loss by Arizona in Vegas. The Avalanche are one of the hottest teams in the league, going 7-0-2 in their last nine games.
Winnipeg is tied with Nashville atop the Central Division, both with two games left. The Jets own the tiebreaker. St. Louis is just one point behind. The Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, while Nashville is home against Vancouver.
“They’ve got a lot on the line tonight, and so do we. We’ve got something we need to prove to ourselves, to our teammates. That we have what it takes in here. So we’ve got a lot riding on this game too,” said defenceman Jacob Trouba.
The Jets spent Wednesday away from the rink following a closed-door, players-only meeting after Tuesday night’s loss.
“We just kind of addressed the situation that we’re in, tried to find solutions together on how to get out of it. That’s kind of what happened,” said forward Mathieu Perreault. “We’ve been losing games. We just want to win games. So we had a chat about what we gotta do here to start winning games again.”
No other lineup changes are expected for the Jets, meaning Matt Hendricks, Sami Niku, Joe Morrow and Bogdan Kiselevich will be the healthy scratches. However, there could be some new line combinations rolled out, although Maurice wouldn’t provide specifics. The Jets didn’t do any line rushes at the morning skate.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.