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GAME DAY: Jets begin three-game home stand tonight vs. 'Canes

6:00pm CT - TV: City & Sportsnet One; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

Video: TSN Pre-Game Report

WINNIPEG - Dustin Byfuglien returns to the line-up as the Winnipeg Jets look for their third win in a row tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Byfuglien has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, something he said started bothering him in training camp.

"We tried taking care of it as much as possible, and we did the right thing and got on it early," said Byfuglien. "It's definitely nothing big, but it's something that can drag on for a long time. If you take care of it early, you won't lose much time."

The 6'5" defenceman was paired with Toby Enstrom at today's morning skate, a pairing head coach Paul Maurice has liked in the past.

"He and Toby have played some real fine hockey together for us so we're hoping that pairing can match it again," said Maurice. "He's such a force. We miss him on the back end on that power play. That shot threat and the movement that group has, we felt we've missed him there."

Video: PRE-GAME | Paul Maurice

While the Jets do get Byfuglien back, they will be without Adam Lowry tonight. Maurice says the forward played with the upper-body injury against Vancouver, but it didn't loosen up the way the team would have liked.

With Lowry listed as day-to-day, the line rushes at morning skate looked like this:

Ehlers-Scheifele-Wheeler

Perreault-Little-Laine

Matthias-Copp-Tanev

Dano-Petan-Armia

Morrissey-Trouba

Enstrom-Byfuglien

Kulikov-Myers

Captain Blake Wheeler, who racked up four assists on the three-game road trip, says the challenge for the Jets tonight is avoiding the thought that winning gets any easier winning at home versus on the road.

"That's going to be the challenge. We've had a little bit of success the last two games," said Wheeler. "Typically these games are the toughest ones. If we can get the right mindset going into this game - be smart, play hard, (and in) straight lines. Try to force those guys into playing on our terms."

The Hurricanes have only played two games so far this season (going 1-0-1 in the process), but aren't without an injury of their own. Trevor van Riemsdyk (concussion), and as a result have recalled Trevor Carrick from their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Video: PRE-GAME | Dustin Byfuglien

Tyler Myers expects not only a well-rested Hurricanes team tonight, but also one full of energy, as Carolina has been idle since Tuesday's overtime loss to Columbus.

"They certainly should have a lot of energy, but for us it's coming out and playing the way we need to win a hockey game," said Myers. "We're not so much worried about what they're doing. We obviously look at their systems, but for us we know we have to focus on a certain way we need to play."

Connor Hellebuyck gets his third straight start tonight after turning away 68 of 72 shots in his back-to-back wins.

Video: PRE-GAME | Tyler Myers

"His back-to-back games have looked identical. He let one in there, the 3-2 goal the other night that he'd like to have back. Those things happen, but his play after that was very mature and very confident," said Maurice.

"Part of it is schedule. He's played the last two games, we've had two travel days in there, we haven't practiced very much. So we'll get Steve (Mason) some practice time and we'll take a look at him for Columbus."

Scott Darling (1-0-1, 2.79 GAA) gets the nod for the Hurricanes.

Puck drop is set for 6 pm CT at Bell MTS Place.

Video: PRE-GAME | Nic Petan

ICE CHIPS

Along with Byfuglien's return to the line-up, Joel Armia also draws in for the first time in two games tonight.

"He had a lower-body injury in training camp and we really felt that set him back," said Maurice. "Get back, find your game, keep it simple so that you can start building some confidence. It will be a challenge here, these guys are quick and they're on the puck.

"What he needs to do to be successful in this game, is exactly what he needs to do to get his game going. So it'll be a good challenge."

Matt Hendricks (lower-body) also continues to progress. After skating away from the main group the last two days, the veteran forward took part in the morning skate today, but not in line rushes.

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets begin a three-game homestand tonight at Bell MTS Place against the Carolina Hurricanes...Tonight's game is one year plus a day since the Jets opened their 2015-16 season with a 5-4 comeback victory in overtime against the Hurricanes in Winnipeg...The Jets beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Thursday for their second win in as many games and finished their western Canadian road trip 2-1...The homestand continues on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and finishes on Friday against the Minnesota Wild.

Facing the East

The Jets won their final five games against Eastern Conference teams to finish last season 14-14-4 against Eastern Conference teams...Winnipeg earned points in nine of their last 10 games against the East (7-1-2)...The Jets won only three of their first 11 games against the East and two of those three wins came in overtime...This season the Jets are 0-1-0 against the East after an opening night 7-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Back-2-Back

Winnipeg can extend its winning streak to three games with a win tonight...The Jets had three winning streaks of three games or more last season, including a franchise record seven-game winning streak to end the season...A win tonight would mark the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Jets have converted back-to-back wins into a three-game winning streak on their first opportunity.

Roster Age

According to QuantHockey.com, tonight's game features the NHL's two youngest rosters this season...Based on a weight average, which accounts for which players have played in the games versus being on the roster, the Jets have iced the youngest roster in the NHL this season at an average age of 25.749 years, while the Hurricanes are marginally older with an average age of 25.756.  

Frightful October

The Jets franchise is 64-83-36 all-time in October, including 26-28-8 since the team relocated to Winnipeg...In their 17th season, the franchise has posted a winning record in October five times (2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015)...The Jets went 7-3-1 in October 2015 for a .652 points percentage, which is a franchise best.

Strength of Early Schedule

The Jets go up against some of the top teams in the NHL right out of the gate...Of Winnipeg's 11 games in October, nine are against teams that made the playoffs last season...Included in the October schedule are two tilts against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 26 at Pittsburgh and Oct. 29 in Winnipeg...The Jets play the 50-game winner from a year ago Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 17 in Winnipeg and Oct. 27 in Columbus...In total, Winnipeg's 11 October opponents had a combined record of 543-300-106 last season...The teams Winnipeg has played so far have a record of 8-5-1 this season.

First Shorty for Myers

Tyler Myers' goal late in the second period against Vancouver on Thursday was his first shorthanded goal of the season...Myers leads the Jets with 14:41 TOI shorthanded this season...With Myers having scored a shorthanded goal, there are now 30 players in franchise history that have played in at least 100 games and not scored a shorthanded goal...Myers' tally was also his first game-winning goal since Feb. 26/13 at TBL 4-2 W when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres - a span of 241 games...Myers has 14 points (11G, 3A)in his 10 career games in which he has scored the game-winning goal.

Pair of Little Helpers

Bryan Little had two assists on Thursday against the Canucks for his first multi-point game of the season and 41
st multi-assist game of his career, which is fourth all-time in franchise history...His two assists at even strength gave him 185 assists at even strength for his career, which ties him with teammate Blake Wheeler for the franchise record.

Helle Stands Tall

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 of 32 shots in Thursday's win against Vancouver, marking the first time since in Jan. 3-4 of last season that he made at least 30 saves in back-to-back wins...He's maintaining a career season-high .927 save percentage through three games this season and can match a career-best four-game winning streak with two more back-to-back wins.

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