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GAME DAY: Jets host Wild in pre-season opener

7:00pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

Video: TSN Pre-Game Report

WINNIPEG - Defencemen Logan Stanley and Tucker Poolman will get their first taste of NHL preseason action tonight when the Winnipeg Jets host the Minnesota Wild at Bell MTS Place.

"I'm excited for tonight," Poolman said, adding his dad and his youngest brother will be at the game tonight. "I'm just going to go out there, make some plays and keep it simple.

"For me it's just being reliable and being good defensively. Those are two real important things for me tonight."

Video: PREGAME | Tucker Poolman

This year's training camp is Stanley's second with the Jets since being selected 18th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. While he took part in practices in last year's camp, he never got into preseason action before he was re-assigned Oct. 4, 2016.

The 19-year-old admits to being a bit nervous, but hopes he's able to turn those nerves into a positive.

"It wouldn't be right if there were no nerves for your first game," Stanley said with a smile. "You just have to have fun with it. Go out and work as hard as you can. Usually good players tend to play well in big games or when they're nervous. I'm going to look at this as a big game for me, and hopefully play well."

Video: PREGAME | Logan Stanley

Stanley has been paired with veteran Dustin Byfuglien since camp began, while Poolman and Toby Enstrom have worked together on the blue line as well.

Head coach Paul Maurice plans to expose Poolman and Stanley to some of the NHL veterans in the Minnesota line-up, including Charlie Coyle, who had 18 goals and 56 points for the Wild in 2016-17.

"I just want to see where their speed is at, where their reads are at," said Maurice. "First NHL exhibition game for both of them, they're not making the team or getting cut on this one. I just want to see where they're at."

Video: PREGAME | Kyle Connor

Seventeen of the 20 players in Winnipeg's line-up tonight have at least one game of NHL experience. Kyle Connor is among those 17, after his 20 games last year's campaign.

Connor spent the majority of 2016-17 with the Manitoba Moose, finishing with 25 goals (which led the team) and 44 points. He played in the Jets' final game of the regular season as well, scoring the game-tying goal in a 2-1 Jets win over the Predators.

But with last year in the past, Connor is ready to make an impression.

"I know it's preseason but you can always go out there and show something. Try to use my speed and play a solid game out there," Connor said. "I think everybody wants to compete out there. Everybody wants to show that you have that tenacity. Just work, that's what you want to see in preseason. All the rust of the passes and everything will smooth out during the preseason."

The assist on that goal came from Adam Lowry, who Connor will once again have at centre tonight, with Joel Armia on the opposite wing. But like all the lines tonight, nothing is set in stone, says Maurice.

Video: CAMP | Paul Maurice

"It's a possibility. Adam we ask to pull a lot of defensive minutes, but 15 goals last year, 45 as a junior. Adam's not making a lot of dangle plays up the ice but he's got a different kind of offense with his size in the offensive zone," said Maurice. "There's a bit of speed on the wing for him. Just want to see how they fit together."

Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in goal for the Jets, with puck drop set for 7 pm CT.

PROJECTED LINES

Patrik Laine-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault-Bryan Little-Nikolaj Ehlers

Kyle Connor-Adam Lowry-Joel Armia

Brendan Lemieux-Michael Sgarbossa-Marko Dano

 

Logan Stanley-Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom-Tucker Poolman

Ben Chiarot-Nelson Nogier

 

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Tonight's Lineup

Forwards: Patrik Laine, Mathieu Perreault, Kyle Connor, Brendan Lemieux, Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Mike Sgarbossa, Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, Joel Armia and Marko Dano

Defence: Logan Stanley, Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Tucker Poolman, Ben Chiarot and Nelson Nogier

Connor Hellebuyck will start in goal and Eric Comrie will back up.

The Matchup

The Winnipeg Jets begin their seven-game 2017 pre-season schedule tonight at Bell MTS Place against the Minnesota Wild...The return match goes Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota...The Jets' next pre-season action is Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers at Bell MTS Place.

Against the Wild

The Jets lost four of the five games against the Wild last season...It was Winnipeg's worst record in a season series   against Minnesota since joining the Central Division for the 2013-14 season...Winnipeg's lone win last year came on Mar. 19 at home 5-4...Mark Scheifele (2G, 4A) and Mathieu Perreault (1G, 5A) led the Jets with six points against Minnesota last season...Overall, the Jets are 11-9-2 in the regular season against Minnesota since 2011.

Experienced Lineup

Seventeen of the 20 players expected to suit up for the Jets tonight have at least one game of NHL experience...The lineup also features Winnipeg's top seven scorers from last season - Mark Scheifele (82 pts), Blake Wheeler (74 pts), Patrik Laine (64 pts), Nikolaj Ehlers (64 pts), Dustin Byfuglien (52 pts), Bryan Little (47 pts) and Mathieu Perreault (45 pts).

Debuts

Defencemen Logan Stanley and Tucker Poolman and forward Michael Sgarbossa make their Jets pre-season debut tonight...Stanley and Poolman are getting their first taste of NHL action.

Draft and Develop

Of the 20 players in the lineup for the Jets tonight, 13 were drafted by the organization, including both goaltenders and five of the six defencemen...First round picks Mark Scheifele (2011), Nikolaj Ehlers (2014), Kyle Connor (2015), Patrik Laine (2016) and Logan Stanley (2016) are all scheduled to be in the lineup tonight.

Minnesota Content

The Jets roster features four Minnesotans - Dustin Byfuglien (Roseau), Matt Hendricks (Blaine), Tucker Poolman (East Grand Forks) and Blake Wheeler (Plymouth)...Byfuglien, Poolman and Wheeler are expected to be in the lineup tonight.

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