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GAMEDAY: Jets at Sharks

9:30 pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

SAN JOSE - C.J. Suess had quite the morning on Friday and depending on how injuries shake out for the Winnipeg Jets going into tonight's game against the San Jose Sharks, his evening could be even more memorable.

The 25-year-old was recalled from the Manitoba Moose and arrived at the team hotel just as the bus was departing to SAP Center for morning skate.

Half an hour later, he was on the ice for the optional skate.

He has to be ready, as injury will prevent Patrik Laine from playing his second straight game, Adam Lowry is out due to suspension, and Bryan Little is a game time decision.

"It's something you dream about your entire life," Suess said about getting the call and potentially playing in his first NHL game. "It's really exciting."

Video: PREGAME | CJ Suess

While the last several hours has been a whirlwind, Suess prioritized making sure his family knew about the possibility of his NHL debut.

"My mom got the first call. Then my sister," said Suess.

"It was unbelievable. You always dream about being able to make that call to your parents. It's really nice, but there is another thing I'd like to show her and that's playing in the game. So we'll see."

The Jets (6-7-0) played with 11 forwards and seven defencemen in a 7-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

There are a number of scenarios that could play out line-up wise tonight, as the Jets have 12 forwards on the trip, but head coach Paul Maurice wasn't revealing much about his line-up on the morning of game day.

"It'll be dependent on our other players," he said.

"If we need him, he's in."

Regardless of who is in or not, forward Andrew Copp - who played a season-high 18:41 against the Ducks - said the Jets need to embrace the challenge.

"You can't think negatively. You can't think 'I haven't played with this guy that much' or 'how is this going to work?' Or 'what is this match going to be?' You can't think like that," said Copp. "It's an opportunity for us to show next man up, show our depth, and show that even if we're missing some guys we can continue to play at a high level."

Video: PREGAME | Andrew Copp

Despite the fact the Sharks (4-8-1) have lost three straight (being outscored 14-4 in those games) they are still a challenging team to defend.

Defenceman Brent Burns leads the Sharks in points with 13, while Erik Karlsson is fifth with nine points.

They present an extra challenge for the Jets, regardless of whether they're leading the rush or providing the second layer of attack.

"Our F3 needs to be great in the offensive zone in terms of eliminating two-on-ones and three-on-twos," said Copp. "But at the same time they pull up and hit the four hole, that means our fourth and fifth players - usually our second and third forwards - coming back into our own zone have to be conscientious of where those D are coming and where the most dangerous scoring threat is going to be. Those players are fantastic in finding the right seam."

Connor Hellebuyck (5-5-0, 0.921 save percentage) will get the start in goal for the Jets, who will have to match the desperation level Maurice expects from the Sharks.

"They're going to be snarly tonight. I think they had four guys left on their bench at the end of their last game. The coach wasn't one of them. We're getting their best tonight," said Maurice.

"Both teams are on the outside looking in. These games matter now. We don't get to wind it up in February. Both teams have to go now."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm CT. It may be shortly before that puck drop that Suess finds out if tonight will mark his NHL debut, but if he's in, he knows what he wants to bring to the table.

"I've been good on the forecheck and on draws. I've been reliable in the defensive zone, so I feel that's a big part of it," said Suess, who has one goal in eight games with the Moose this season.

"You're going to see a hard forecheck and always moving my feet. Good in the draws hopefully, and a strong presence in the D zone."

Being good on draws and responsible in the defensive zone are all skills that Maurice has seen Suess improve on over the past couple of years.

"There is a whole other level of hockey that these guys who come out of amateur are unaware of," said Maurice. "He's a student of it. He's worked hard to learn the game and to be right as a centre man. That's a heavy position. There is a big learning curve on that. He's done a nice job with it."

ICE CHIPS

Nathan Beaulieu will miss his 14th consecutive game with an upper-body injury. The defenceman shed his no-contact jersey for yesterday's practice, but Maurice is keeping him out of the line-up at least one more night.

"We've given this so much time that we want to make sure he's 100 per cent healthy before we put him back in. He's worked hard. His conditioning is not an issue," said Maurice, who couldn't commit to having Beaulieu in the road trip finale against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, either. "We'll push him again real hard here today and see where he is. I'm leaning on no, we'll probably wait until he gets back."

As for Laine, who leads the Jets in assists with 10, Maurice wouldn't rule him out for the game against the Golden Knights.

"We want to make sure we get ahead of it. That we're not dealing with this thing all year," said Maurice. "We feel we got to it early enough that we shouldn't have to."

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game Pacific Division road trip tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks...The Jets dropped the first game of the trip 7-4 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night...The Jets finish the trip Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Last Game

Oct. 29 vs. ANA - 7-4 L

Jets Scorers: Ehlers (5, 6), Wheeler (4), Little (2)

Ducks Scorers: Fowler (3), Getzlaf (6), Henrique (8), Terry (2), Grant (2), Rowney (3, 4)

Jets Goaltender: Hellebuyck (14 sv, 5 ga), Brossoit (7 sv, 1 ga)

Ducks Goaltender: Gibson (36 sv, 4 ga)

Jets PP: 0-for-2
Jets PK: 1-for-1

Recap: The Jets had 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the first period, but fell 7-4 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night...Nikolaj Ehlers led the Jets with three points (2G, 1A), while Bryan Little had two points (1G, 1A)...Kyle Connor led the Jets with a career high nine shots, while Gabriel Bourque had a team-leading six hits.

Three Stars: 1. Mahura 2. Silfverberg 3. Henrique

READ THE GAME NOTES

Recapping October

The Jets went 6-7-0 in October to open the season...It's the first time the Jets have been below .500 in the first month of the season since going 4-5-0 to start the 2016-17 season...Winnipeg outshot their opponents 438-427 in October, which is the first time in five seasons that the Jets have outshot their opposition in the first month....Winnipeg was shorthanded just 26 times last month, which is a franchise low for October...Patrik Laine's 10 assists in October tied a franchise record for most assists in October.

Taking Their Shots

The Jets are eighth in the NHL with an average of 33.7 shots per game...The Jets took 40 shots on Tuesday against Anaheim, which marked the fourth time this season Winnipeg has had at least 40 shots in a game...The Jets had at least 40 shots in a game 10 times last season...The Jets have 155 shots in second periods this season, which is their most productive period, while they have a plus-37 shot differential in third periods and overtimes.

Party in the Pacific

Tomorrow is the fifth of six consecutive games against Pacific Division opponents...The Jets are 2-3-0 against the Pacific Division this season after going 16-6-2 against Pacific Division opponents last season, which was the most wins against the division by a team outside the division...Winnipeg is on a 27-10-4 run in their past 41 games versus the Pacific...Since 2017-18, Blake Wheeler leads the Jets in scoring against the Pacific Division with 43 points (9G, 34A) in 53 games, while Kyle Connor has a team-leading 21 goals.

Flyin'

Nikolaj Ehlers' three-point night (2G, 1A) on Tuesday was his fourth multi-point game and first multi-goal game of the season...Ehlers had eight multi-point games last season...He is tied for sixth in the NHL in road scoring with 10 points (4G, 6A) in six games.

Streakin'

After being held pointless in his first game of the season, Bryan Little has a point in three consecutive games (2G, 2A)...He only had one point streak longer than two games last season - seven games from Jan. 6-17 (5G, 4A).

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (13) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Gustafsson, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic

Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler

Free Agency (7) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Perreault, Shaw

Waivers (2) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa

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