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At the Rink blog

Jets prepared to play with or without Byfuglien

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Jets prepared to play with or without Byfuglien

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was scheduled to rejoin his teammates shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, or a couple of hours before the start of their game against the Florida Panthers.

Byfuglien missed Monday's practice after flying home for personal reasons. Coach Claude Noel said Monday that Derek Meech, recalled last Wednesday from St. John's of the American Hockey League, would take Byfuglien's place if he doesn't make it to the game on time.

Byfuglien averages a team-high 24:43 of ice time per game, but Noel wasn't fretting at possibly having to go without him.

"We'll see," Noel said. "I'm not too concerned with Dustin. If he's here, he's here; if he's not, we've got to win the game. There's other ways to win the game, so I'm not concerned. We'll just deal with it however it's dealt."

Forward Antti Miettinen, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury and has appeared in one game this season, will be back in the lineup for the Jets and is expected to play on a line with fellow Finn Olli Jokinen.

Forward Kyle Wellwood, a healthy scratch the past four games, also is expected to suit up.

Noel also confirmed that Ondrej Pavelec would make his 10th consecutive start in net.

Here are the Jets' projected lines:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Nik Antropov

James Wright - Olli Jokinen - Antti Miettinen

Eric Tangradi - Jim Slater - Kyle Wellwood

Grant Clitsome - Dustin Byfuglien

Ron Hainsey - Zach Bogosian

Mark Stuart - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Injured: Tobias Enstrom (upper body), Zach Redmond (lower body)

Scratched:Chris Thorburn

Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson