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GAME DAY: Jets return home to face Flames

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

by WinnipegJets.com Staff @NHLJets / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - Every preseason game is an opportunity. For Kyle Connor and Nic Petan, tonight's match-up with the Calgary Flames could be even more than that.

Petan will centre a line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine on the wings, while Connor will be on the left side with Mark Scheifele in the middle and Blake Wheeler on the other side.

"Anyone would want to play in that position, but at the same time I don't think my game changes as far as paying attention to the defensive game," said Petan, who had over 22 minutes of ice time in Saturday's 6-2 loss to Edmonton.

"I'm playing centre tonight, so battles down low, and I'm sure those two will be open. So for me, it's moving the puck quick."

Video: PREGAME | Nic Petan

Connor, 20, played in 20 games during the 2016-17 season, including scoring the tying goal in game 82 against Nashville.

Tonight will be the first look the Michigan native gets on a line with the Jets' top two point-getters from last season.

"I'm just looking to go out there, and no matter who I'm playing with, just play my game and contribute as much as I can," said Connor. "These last couple games, you have to really ramp it up and be sharp here."

Video: PREGAME | Kyle Connor

Here is how the lines looked at this morning's skate at Bell MTS Iceplex. 

Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler
Ehlers-Petan-Laine
Perreault-Lowry-Dano
Matthias-Copp-Lipon

Enstrom-Byfuglien
Kulikov-Trouba
Chiarot-Poolman

With the preseason has entering the final week, the intensity on the ice will get closer to that of the regular season, and as a result, captain Wheeler believes it's a good time for Petan and Connor to get an opportunity like tonight.

"They're a couple young skilled players that have had a lot of success at university and major junior. Petan has had some success with us here too," said Wheeler. "It's a good opportunity for them to fill a role that they're a little more accustomed to playing. We're going to play hard for them."

Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler

While the NHL is a "show me what you've got" league every night in the mind of head coach Paul Maurice, he's also happy to have a few more games to iron out the final roster. But there is one thing in particular he wants to see from the line-up tonight.

"Speed. A little more speed in our game," said Maurice. "We've spent eight hard days - nine actually if you include the testing - that they've had a straight run of taxing drills on their legs.

"So we haven't seen much speed to our game. We'll move into a speed component here over the next week. Maybe a little bit of rust after a day off, but I'd like to see more speed in our game."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Steve Mason will get his second start of the preseason tonight for the Jets, while Eddie Lack will counter for the Calgary Flames.

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

FLAMES LINEUP

FORWARDS

15 - Spencer Foo
17 - Luke Gazdic
19 - Matthew Tkachuk
20 - Curtis Lazar
21 - Garnet Hathaway
23 - Sean Monahan
28 - Emile Poirier
46 - Marek Hrivik
56 - Ryan Lomberg
59 - Dillon Dube
64 - Joseph Cramarossa
77 - Mark Jankowski

DEFENCEMEN

4 - Tyler Wotherspoon
26 - Michael Stone
42 - Juuso Valimaki
44 - Matt Bartkowski
54 - Rasmus Andersson
61 - Brett Kulak

GOALTENDERS

31 - Eddie Lack
32 - Jon Gillies

JETS GAME NOTES

The Matchup

The Winnipeg Jets play their fifth game of the pre-season tonight at Bell MTS Place against the Flames...Tonight is the first half of their pre-season home-and-home set, with the two clubs meeting at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB on Saturday...The Jets are coming off a 6-2 loss at the hands of the Oilers on Saturday...Following tonight's game, the Jets host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday...The Jets conclude their 2017 pre-season schedule with Saturday's meeting with the Flames.

Against the Flames

The Jets won one of three games against the Flames last season, a 2-0 win on Jan. 9 where Connor Hellebuyck earned the shutout……Nikolaj Ehlers led the way against the Flames in 2016-17 with two points (1G, 1A)…The Jets have put together a 1-2-0 record against the Flames in each of the last three seasons…Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler are tied for the franchise lead in points against the Flames with 14... Little leads the way in goals with seven and Wheeler is tops in assists with nine.

Sunday Assignments

The Jets had their first day off during their training camp yesterday, but it was not a quiet one as the club made a number of roster moves. Winnipeg assigned seven players to their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, and another five players will also be assigned if they clear waivers. The Jets also assigned 2016 first round draft pick Logan Stanley to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.
 
Blueline's Been Around

Winnipeg's projected lineup tonight includes their three defencemen with the most games played in Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, and Dmitry Kulikov... That trio is joined by Ben Chiarot and Jacob Trouba, who have featured in 170 and 270 NHL regular season games, respectively... Rounding out the blueline group is Tucker Poolman, who has impressed in three preseason games.

Looking to Break Out

After finishing seventh in the NHL with 246 goals (an average of three per game), the Jets have yet to reach the three-goal mark in their first four exhibition games... Five different players (Perreault, Laine, Ehlers, Spacek, Lipon)have combined to score Winnipeg's five pre-season goals.

LAST TIME OUT

EDMONTON, AB - With cut-down day only hours away, Saturday's preseason game in Edmonton was the very last chance for many to leave their mark in the fight for a job.

Some did, and the Jets' head coach left Rogers Place with a clearer picture of how the coming days will unfold at the offices back Winnipeg.

Read more in Ryan Dittrick's game story >>

JETS REDUCE ROSTER

On Sunday, the Jets reduced their training camp roster by 13. Mason Appleton, Chase De Leo, Jansen Harkins, Sami Niku, Nelson Nogier, Jimmy Lodge and Jamie Phillips were all assigned to the Moose, while Michael Hutchinson, Julian Melchiori, Buddy Robinson, Cam Schilling and Mike Sgarbossa were all placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment. In addition, 2016 first-round pick Logan Stanley was assigned to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

Tweet from @NHLJets: The #NHLJets now have 19 forwards, nine defencemen and three goaltenders remaining at training camp. Updated roster: pic.twitter.com/8hrVbmgmxf

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