WINNIPEG - After playing the majority of his first four games back from injury on the left wing, Pierre-Luc Dubois will start tonight's rematch between the Winnipeg Jets (13-7-1) and the Vancouver Canucks (9-14-2) at centre.
He'll have Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor on his wings as the Jets try to bounce back from Monday's 4-0 loss.
"Wherever you are in the line-up, you're surrounded by talent," said Dubois. "Nik Ehlers and KC are two unbelievable players, fast players, good hands and can pass and shoot. Wherever you are in the line-up, you're surrounded by guys like that."
The 22-year-old feels his body is fully recovered from the lower-body injury that kept him out for four games and because of that, he can handle the extra wear and tear placed on a centre.
"Part of it was just getting back into game shape," said Dubois, referencing the two-week quarantine, then the missed games due to injury.
"The second part was that with the injury being able to do all it takes in the centre position - battle in the corners, face-offs, stuff like that - I felt I was ready. I felt ready physically, I felt ready mentally. I'm ready to go."
Making such a shift in the line-up has a ripple effect on another line. Paul Stastny will move from centre to left wing, where he'll skate with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
"Sometimes, when you're playing with another centreman and if I'm the first one back, it's easy because I can just play low and (Scheifele) can play wing," said Stastny. "Not much changes. It's the same thing, just (have) close support and just communicate out there because sometimes I'm first back, sometimes (Scheifele) is first back and sometimes (Wheeler) is first back and then you just rearrange from there."
Jets head coach Paul Maurice made the move halfway through the second period of Monday's game, as the Jets tried to find ways to generate offence.
They created a number of chances in the third period, outshooting Vancouver 15-4 as the Canucks worked to defend what was a 3-0 lead until Elias Pettersson's empty net goal with 3:34 to go in regulation.
Video: PREGAME | Paul Stastny
Maurice would like to see his team get back to playing a more "direct" offensive game earlier in this contest, but at the same time there is a balance. He doesn't want to take creativity out of his players' hands.
"We had a 2-on-1 at the start of the game and Blake tries to pass to Mark and that puck doesn't get to the net. They're not hearing anything when they come to the bench. That's a 2-on-1 with really skilled players trying to make a play," said Maurice.
"There are other pieces to our game that we're trying to make plays that aren't there, where we need to be more direct and play a more simple game."
The Jets line-up will see one more change, as Tucker Poolman draws back in the line-up. He hasn't played in the last three games due to an upper-body injury.
Maurice wasn't able to confirm who comes out of the line-up on the back end to make room for Poolman. But he did give info on who Poolman would play with.
"We'll put (Morrissey) back over to his left and play Tucker there (on the right)," said Maurice, who said there was no central theme that plagued the Jets defensively when it came to Vancouver's three goals off deflections in Monday's first period.
"We've been pretty darn good at closing it. There's only one there at five-on-five that we'd like that stick picked up (in the slot). But we'd be aware of it. We had done a good job," Maurice said. "We'll show the second one in terms of gap closure, of being able to get harder out into that lane and get that stick picked up in the air and that will be it."
Video: PREGAME | Pierre-Luc Dubois
Laurent Brossoit will get the start in goal. In his last start on Feb. 20 in Vancouver, Brossoit made 29 saves to earn his second career shutout.
Both of Brossoit's shutouts have come against the Canucks at Rogers Arena in Brossoit's home province.
Overall, the 27-year-old is 3-0-0 against Vancouver in his career with a 0.981 save percentage and a sparkling 0.55 goals against average.
Speaking of successful records, the Jets are 2-1-0 in the back half of back-to-back games this season. Even more impressive, they're 5-0-1 this season when coming off a regulation loss.
Stastny credits that to the team having a short memory, something that will be valuable especially in the month of March, which sees the Jets play 17 games in 31 days.
There just isn't time to dwell on a loss.
The focus has to be putting the best foot forward the next night.
"A lot of times, you're playing the same team again, so you want to get the edge early on," said Stastny. "Nothing better than when you have a tough loss like that is playing back-to-back. You just forget about it and today is a new day. We focus on it, come out and bring out or A-game."
Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.
-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
The Winnipeg Jets close out a four-game home stand tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Jets are 2-1-0 in the back half of back-to-back games and are 5-0-1 following a loss of any kind this season.
Winnipeg is 8-4-1 n home ice this season and have won five of their past seven at Bell MTS Place.
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