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Beaulieu could return from injury as early as Thursday

The Jets defenceman has missed the last four games with upper-body injury

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Fresh off a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, the Winnipeg Jets hit the ice for a quick skate on Wednesday before boarding a plane for Texas where they'll play the second half of a home-and-home with the Stars on Thursday.

When the puck drops on that game, the Jets line-up could potentially look a bit different than on Tuesday.

Nathan Beaulieu took part in the skate in a regular jersey, after wearing a non-contact during morning skate on Tuesday.

His availability for Thursday was nearly out of the question earlier this week, but now, head coach Paul Maurice is keeping that possibility open.

"(Beaulieu) got through practice today," Maurice said. "If he gets through the morning skate, we'll consider him for the line-up for tomorrow."

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

Maurice also expects Luca Sbisa, who left Tuesday's win in the third period, to be available for the rematch with the Stars on Thursday.

Mason Appleton, out since October 25 with a broken bone in his foot, was also a full participant in the skate, but won't be in the line-up against the Stars.

"You have to get some practice under your belt. This was the first team skate I've had and it was a 15-minute skate. I think a couple of practices would definitely do me good," said Appleton.

Regardless of who is in the line-up, the Jets are expecting the Stars to come out strong Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

Not only is Dallas 9-4-1 on home ice (with those nine wins tied for the fourth most in the NHL for victories at home), but they've also given up just 28 goals in those 14 games - the third fewest in the NHL.

Video: PRACTICE | Mason Appleton

Tuesday's game was also the first time this season the Stars have given up five goals in a game.

"We expect their best tomorrow," said Andrew Copp, a big reason why the Jets penalty kill was a perfect three-for-three on Tuesday. "Especially in these back-to-back situations, playing the same team. In college it was always hard to beat the same team twice in a row."

As happy as Maurice was with Winnipeg's play offensively against the Stars on Tuesday, he also appreciated the defensive effort put up by his club.

Carl Dahlstrom was part of that defensive group, which has seen its fair share of injuries since the start of the season.

But yet, the group just sticks together and keeps finding ways to get wins.

"Last night was one of the better games I've ever been a part of, considering the team aspect of it all," said Dahlstrom. "The forwards came back, the whole defensive group being able to stay up and defend the lines and work together to get the puck out. I thought overall we worked really hard last night and that's the biggest key to our success."

That effort doesn't go unnoticed by Connor Hellebuyck, who is third in the NHL in save percentage with a 0.934.

"I don't think you can point at one guy in this locker room. As a group we've come together very well," Hellebuyck said. "We're all playing hard and we're all battling every single night. One guy might stick out or have guys that have really good games, but to this point, everybody in this locker room has had a big impact."

Puck drop in Dallas is set for 7:30 pm CT on Thursday.

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