Video: TSN Pre-Game Report
WINNIPEG - Nelson Nogier's smile could be seen from the 300 level of the MTS Centre.
The Winnipeg Jets' fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, who was recalled on an emergency basis yesterday, will make his NHL debut tonight as the Jets host the Philadelphia Flyers.
"It's a dream come true to play in my first NHL game," said Nogier. "Mom and dad are probably on their flight right now on their way to Winnipeg."
The 20-year-old Saskatoon native has 13 points in 57 games with the Manitoba Moose this season, his first in professional hockey after a four-plus year career in the WHL with Saskatoon and Red Deer.
Head coach Paul Maurice set aside a few minutes to chat with the young defenceman after this morning's pre-game skate at MTS Centre.
Video: PREGAME | Nelson Nogier
"The speech isn't to calm the nerves. It's to take it all in for me. You only get one of these," said Maurice. "The speech goes something like 'you can win 10 Stanley Cups and 10 Norris Trophies, but you're only ever getting one game. There's a whole family, and a whole extended family that sacrificed as much as you did to get here. Take a deep breath, take in the national anthems, enjoy the heck out of it.'"
Nikolaj Ehlers, who was also drafted in the 2014 NHL Draft - ironically, held in Philadelphia - is excited for his fellow draftee.
"It's awesome for a guy like him. He's a great guy," said Ehlers. "It's going to be exciting for him. I don't know if he was expecting it, but it'll be a pretty cool experience for him to get out there."
Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers
Nogier joins a Jets blue line that has been hammered by injuries. Ben Chiarot is the most recent player added to that list. The 25-year-old will miss tonight's game with an upper body injury.
The Jets (32-33-7) didn't take line rushes this morning, but Maurice did say Nogier will see a number of defensive partners tonight.
"We're going to try and get a feel on that real early, where he's comfortable. He does a few things quite well: skates well, big man, sees the ice, and defensively picks up quick reads," said Maurice. "That's all we're looking for early in the game. Simple, fast, and with a smile on your face."
The Flyers (33-30-8) come in having won two of their last three games, but are winless in their last three road games. Jakub Voracek leads the team in points with 55, with Claude Giroux only a few back at 51.
In Maurice's mind, those are just two of the high-end players the Flyers have.
"There's some really good talent there. The next core group of guys that they have, there is some pretty good grind in their game. They'll compete real hard on the puck," said Maurice. "(There are) a lot of good hits in our games when we play against them, and then it breaks into a track meet at times up and down the ice with an awful lot of speed."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Both teams are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but in Maurice's mind, motivation will not be a problem tonight.
"You have to develop that ability to grind every night and play as hard as you can every night," said Maurice. "Nelson is coming into this game, and it's his biggest game of the year… There's an enthusiasm going out there with new players coming in trying to make something happen for their careers."
Michael Hutchinson (5-11-3, 0.896 save percentage) starts in goal for the Jets, while Steve Mason (21-20-7, 0.905 save percentage) counters for Philadelphia.
Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine
Speaking of the injured blue line, Maurice gave updates on the injured defencemen today.
"Paul Postma is not healing quickly," said Maurice. "We'll have to make a decision in the next two or three days on what we're going to do with that."
Jacob Trouba took part in the morning skate, and though he won't play tonight, Maurice said both Trouba and Tyler Myers will fly with the team to California this week to continue skating. He doesn't expect either of them will play in the games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
Toby Enstrom has yet to get to a non-contact practice, but Maurice did say the blue liner is at the stage where he is lightly moving around the ice as he continues to recover from a concussion.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets finish a two-game home stand tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are making their only visit to MTS Centre this season…The Jets beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Sunday for their second consecutive win…Adam Lowry (1g, 1a), Blake Wheeler (2a) and Mathieu Perreault (2a) each had a pair of points for the Jets against the Wild, while Josh Morrissey scored the game-winning goal in the third period…The Flyers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime on Sunday and begin a four-game road trip tonight…After tonight's game, the Jets play a pair of games in California - Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings and Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Lighting the Lamp
Since Feb. 14, the Jets have scored 51 goals in 14 games, which is tied for second in the NHL…Winnipeg's average of 3.6 goals per game since then is also second in the NHL…The Jets have scored at least four goals in each of their last three games…In their 14 games since Feb. 14, the Jets have scored three or more goals 12 times…The Jets have an 11.8% shooting percentage in their last 14 games, which is second in the NHL and 1.8% better than their 10% shooting percentage for the season.
The Road Ahead
The Jets are 10 points back of the Nashville Predators for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference and the Predators have one game in hand…Of the 10 games the Jets have left in the regular season, six are against teams currently holding a playoff spot…The Jets have a combined record of 9-5-3 this season against the teams they have remaining on their schedule…Winnipeg's tragic number for being eliminated from playoff contention is 10.
Special Teams Notes
- The Jets are 6-for-32 (18.8%) on the power play in their last eight games and have scored a power play goal in three consecutive games (3-for-10, 30.0%).
- The Jets are 13-for-20 (65.0%) on the penalty kill in their last five games.
- The Jets have allowed a power play goal against in four of their last five games.
- Winnipeg has been shorthanded the most in the NHL this season at 249 times.
- The Jets have been shorthanded 81 times in the third period this season, which is the most in the league.
Young Guns In the Clutch
Josh Morrissey's goal on Sunday against Minnesota was his third game-winning goal of the season, tying him for third on the team with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler…Of the 30 game-winning goals the Jets have scored this season, 14 have been scored by players in their first or second NHL season, including 10 by rookies…Rookie Patrik Laine leads the Jets with five game-winning goals, while sophomore Nikolaj Ehlers is second with four.
Blake Wheeler's two assists on Sunday pushed him to the 60 point mark on the season, joining Mark Scheifele (71 points) and Patrik Laine (60 points)…It's the fifth time in franchise history the team has had at least three players register 60 points in a season…The 2006 Atlanta Thrashers are the only team in franchise history to have four players reach 60 points in a season…This also marks the fifth time in his career Wheeler has reached 60 points.
Draft and Develop
The Jets recalled defenceman Nelson Nogier from the Manitoba Moose yesterday and he could become the 14th player the Jets have drafted since the franchise returned in 2011 to play for the team…Nogier was drafted in the fourth round (101st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Jets vs. Flyers All-Time Records
At MTS Centre: 3-2-2