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WINNIPEG - It's been a long 30 days for Mathieu Perreault.
Over that span, the 29-year-old forward has missed 12 games with a lower-body injury, but tonight, when the Winnipeg Jets host the Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-2), the wait to get back in the line-up is over.
Perreault will play tonight as the Jets continue a three-game home stand, and will skate on a line with Matt Hendricks and Joel Armia.
"Just play my game, keep it simple early. I'm a guy that likes to make plays. I want to do that, play hard, forecheck hard," said Perreault, regarding the keys to a successful return. "Obviously I may not feel as good as I normally would because I haven't played in a while. But I'm just happy to get back out there."
Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault
In addition to playing on that line, Perreault will see some power play time on the second unit. He had three points in five games before he was injured on Oct. 14, a game the Jets won 2-1 over the Carolina Hurricanes.
There is a familiarity with Perreault and Hendricks. The two were on the same line when Perreault's NHL career was just beginning with the Washington Capitals.
"We found a little success too. What I really appreciate in his game is his ability to make plays and his skill. You can put him anywhere in the line-up because he is a hard worker," said Hendricks. "Matty is a guy you need in the line-up. He brings that energy every night. He can score a big goal at an opportune time in a game. We're really happy to have him. We know he was working hard to get back and get back."
The Jets have points in five straight home games (4-0-1), and have won each of their last two games by a 4-1 score over the Arizona Coyotes.
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
With Perreault in, the morning skate line rushes looked like this, with Shawn Matthias and Marko Dano as the extra forwards:
Head coach Paul Maurice says the play of the other three lines was a factor in determining which line Perreault would return on.
"Copp scores and Lowry scores (on Tuesday), they've been important in this run. That idea of having a line that can play against the other team's best if it's not Mark Scheifele's line is something I value greatly," said Maurice.
"I like the way the other three lines are sitting right now, and I don't want to take a guy that has been out that long and put him in top six minutes right off the start. He can get to wherever he gets to."
Video: PREGAME | Matt Hendricks
The Flyers come in after being shut out in both games of a home-and-home series with the Minnesota Wild, and overall, the Philadelphia offense has been blanked in four of their six games this month.
"Goals for and against are probably not where coaches spend most of their time. It's chances for and against, and they're getting a whole lot of chances for," said Maurice.
"Everybody goes through that stretch where it doesn't go for you. They're a good hockey team."
Connor Hellebuyck (9-1-2, 2.32 goals against average) will get the start in goal, meaning Steve Mason will not face his former club tonight.
But Maurice hinted that Mason would get back in the crease sooner than later, especially with a four-game trip coming up next week.
"We're at home, we got some rest in between games, and his game is just really good. There's going to be plenty of time for Steve going forward," said Maurice. "We get out on the road next week. We'll talk about possibly splitting games on the road, but don't hold me to it. When we're at home, and we've got good rest, and we've got a guy playing the way he played, we'll just play him."
Brian Elliott (6-5-1, 2.59 goals against average) gets the start for the Flyers, with puck drop at BelL MTS Place is set for 7 pm CT.
Winnipeg native Nolan Patrick hasn't played in Philadelphia's last nine games due to an upper-body injury. But he'll also make a return tonight, according to Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol
The second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft hasn't played since Oct. 24, and has a goal and three points in nine games so far this season.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game homestand tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are making their only visit to Bell MTS Place this season...The Jets started the homestand with a 4-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night...After tonight's game, the Jets welcome the New Jersey Devils on Saturday for a matinee affair.
Jets vs. Flyers Notes
- The victory last March over the Flyers broke Winnipeg's six-game losing streak to Philadelphia (0-4-2).
- Winnipeg has points in four of their last five games against Philadelphia (3-1-1) at Bell MTS Place.
- Winnipeg is 1-for-12 (8.3%) on the power play in its last four games against the Flyers.
- The Jets haven't given up a power play against in their last three games against Philadelphia, going 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
- Mark Scheifele has nine points (2g, 7a) in six career games against the Flyers.
Home Sweet Home
Tuesday's win continued Winnipeg's strong play at home, as the Jets are 5-2-1 at Bell MTS Place this season and 122-92-23 all-time in Winnipeg...The Jets have earned a point in five consecutive home games (4-0-1)...Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck remains unbeaten in regulation at home with a 5-0-1 record to go with a 2.36 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Facing the East
The Jets are 2-2-3 against the Eastern Conference this season, including 2-1-2 against the Metropolitan Division...After tonight and Saturday, Winnipeg's next game against an Eastern Conference team is Dec. 3 vs OTT, which begins four consecutive games against the East.
The Other Guys
Tuesday's game marked the first time since March 19, 2017 that the Jets scored four goals and didn't get a goal from Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele or Patrik Laine - a span of 13 games...Andrew Copp and Joel Armia scored their third goals of the season, while Adam Lowry and Bryan Little tallied their second goals.
Little Drought Ends
Bryan Little's second period goal on Tuesday ended an 11-game goalless streak for him...It's his longest goalless streak since going 11 games without a goal from Feb. 26-Oct. 12/15...Little has produced the most in November and December of his career with 30 goals in 109 November games and 41 goals in 111 December games.
Wall of Helle
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 of 34 shots on Tuesday to increase his save percentage to .930 on the season...He's allowed two
goals or less in nine of his 12 starts this season...Hellebuyck's .833 winning percentage is second in the NHL this season, among qualified goaltenders...He has nine quality starts this season, which is two off Braden Holtby's lead of 11...Showing his improvement over last season, Hellebuyck has a 7.57 goals saved above average this season, compared to -9.96 last season - an improvement of 17.53.
Patrik Laine's career-high five-game goal scoring streak came to an end on Tuesday, but he did pick up an assist to extend his point streak to six games...His career-best point streak is eight games, which happened from Dec. 31/16-Feb. 2/17 (4G, 9A).
First and Second
During the next two games the Jets face the first two picks from this past summer's NHL Draft...Philadelphia selected Winnipegger Nolan Patrick with the second overall pick in June, which sets up a meeting between the last two second overall picks as the Jets selected Patrik Laine second overall in 2016...Saturday the Jets face first overall selection Nico Hischier of the New Jersey Devils...The 1-2 duo are the only players from the 2017 NHL Draft on an NHL roster this season.