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GAMEDAY: Jets vs Coyotes

7:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - For the second straight game, the Winnipeg Jets will get a familiar face back from injury.

On Friday, it was Mathieu Perreault - who scored a power play goal in his return in addition to throwing six hits against Vegas. 

Tonight, Adam Lowry returns against the Arizona Coyotes.

"Hopefully it goes like (Perreault's) return," said Lowry with a grin.

"It'll be nice to be back out there competing with the guys and getting right back into the fight. It's a super important game tonight. I'm really looking forward to it."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

The 26-year-old hasn't played since sustaining an upper-body injury against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 19. He's missed 20 games - but is looking forward to jumping back into the playoff race with his team.

"Every time we've been challenged, the guys have really risen to the occasion," said Lowry. "As the season has progressed, especially the last month or so, our team has taken a step forward. We're starting to get healthy and guys are starting to develop that chemistry. It's going to be another important game tonight."

The game will have added importance as well, as the Coyotes (33-28-8) are two points back of the Jets 35-28-6) in the wildcard race in the Western Conference.

Both teams are on the outside looking in, but the only thing separating the Jets from one of those spots is the one game the Vancouver Canucks have in hand.

The Jets, Canucks, and Nashville Predators all have 76 points. Each night, the stakes only get higher, and Winnipeg is embracing that challenge.

"As a team, we're going to embrace that pressure. These are the games we want to play in," said defenceman Dylan DeMelo. "These are the games that are the most exciting during the season. For us, the playoffs started a couple weeks ago. We've been in the grind, and it's going to be that way all the way to the end."

Video: PREGAME | Lowry and DeMelo

Head coach Paul Maurice will slot Lowry back in his natural position, centre. Lowry will have Andrew Copp and Jack Roslovic on the wings, meaning Jansen Harkins is the player coming out of the line-up tonight.

"Where Jansen is at right now, he's become an NHL player. He's in that mix," said Maurice. "But everybody in that group now does one of two special teams. That would be the one area where we're using Appleton, we're using Shore, and they've been good. Having each player of your 12 be able to add something more than a five-on-five shift is important.

"Jansen would also be a very easy in as he was a difficult out."

The rest of the Jets line-up is expected to look like this:

Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler

Ehlers-Eakin-Laine

Copp-Lowry-Roslovic

Perreault-Shore-Appleton

Morrissey-DeMelo

Kulikov-Pionk

Beaulieu-Poolman

The Coyotes will finish off a three-game road trip tonight in Winnipeg. The opened the western Canadian swing with a 4-2 win over Vancouver, before falling to the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-2 on Friday night.

Maurice sees some similarities between the Coyotes and Winnipeg's last opponent, the Golden Knights.

"They're far more dynamic off the rush, rightfully so, you've got Kessel and you've got Hall in your line-up. They're a really dynamic team off the rush," said Maurice.

"They've been pretty adherent to their identity all year long. They're a very quick hockey team. They're third in goals against and they do it by committee. They don't give you any ice to play on. This won't be an easy free-flowing, puck movement game."

Video: PREGAME | Perreault and Beaulieu

Quietly this season, the Jets have also been a team capable of keeping the puck out of their net. Winnipeg has allowed 197 goals, the 12th fewest in the NHL.

Connor Hellebuyck's league-leading six shutouts certainly has a lot to do with that, but Maurice added that the same level of commitment to the defensive side of the game needs to be there in order to be successful.

"It's not, 'we got healthy so we're going to outscore everybody 5-0,'" Maurice said. "Our goals against number is better than our goals for number. With the four D that we lost over the course of the year, that was the area we really felt we needed to be good at to survive. Now we get a little healthier, another NHL defenceman, another NHL forward, that can be a strength for us."

Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets finish a three-game homestand tonight when they play the Arizona Coyotes at Bell MTS Place…The Jets improved to 2-0 on the homestand with a 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday…After tonight's game, the Jets embark on a three-game western Canadian road trip, which begins on Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

Last Game

Mar. 6 vs. VGK - 4-0 W
Jets Scorers: Ehlers (24), Laine (27) Connor (36), Perreault (7)
Golden Knights Scorers: None

Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (29 sv, 0 ga)
Golden Knights Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury (20 sv, 4 ga)

Jets PP: 2-for-2
Jets PK: 1-for-1

Recap: Nikolaj Ehlers scored 24 seconds into the game, as the Jets shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0 on Friday night…Ehlers and Patrik Laine led the Jets with a goal and an assist each…Mathieu Perreault scored and had a team-leading six hits in his return to the line-up…Nic Shore led the Jets in the face-off circle by winning seven of nine draws.

Three Stars: 1. Hellebuyck 2. Laine 3. Perreault

Home Wins Brewing

The Jets end a stretch of four of five games at home tomorrow……The Jets have won five consecutive home games to improve to 19-14-3 on the season…It's their second home winning streak of five games this season…The Jets are one win away from capturing 20 wins at home in a season for the fourth consecutive season…Winnipeg is also 8-2-1 in their past 11 home games…Kyle Connor leads the Jets at home with 37 points (20G, 17A) in 36 games…He's reached exactly 20 goals at home in each of the past three seasons.

Days Off

The Jets have two days off between all three games of this homestand…Winnipeg is 11-6-3 this season when having two days or more of rest…After playing five games in the final eight days of February, the Jets play twice in the first eight days of March.

Staying Hot

The Jets went 4-0-1 in the first five games in February and have gone 10-5-2 since Feb. 1/20, which is tied for ninth in the NHL…Winnipeg has outscored their opponents 55-36 in the 17 games, which is the fewest goals allowed in the NHL in that span.

Streaking Goals

Kyle Connor has scored in five consecutive games, which is a career high for longest goal scoring streak…He previously had four three-game goal scoring streaks…His five-game streak is tied for the longest by a member of the Jets this season…Connor's two goals on Tuesday gave him 35 goals on the season for the first time in his career…He is one of three players in the NHL to score at least 30 goals in each of the past three seasons and his 101 goals during the past three seasons is tied for 10th in the NHL.

Power Passer

Neal Pionk tallied his 22nd power play assist of the season on Friday night, which ties the franchise record for most power play assists in a season by a defenceman…The feat was accomplished by Toby Enstrom twice and Jaroslav Modry once when the franchise was in Atlanta…Pionk had 11 power play assists last season while with the New York Rangers…The franchise record for power play assists in a season is 36, which was set by Marc Savard during the 2005-06 season in Atlanta.

Multi-Talented

Patrik Laine ended a four-game pointless streak with two points (1G, 1A) on Friday…The Jets are 14-0-1 this season when Laine has multiple points in a game.

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (14) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Harkins, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Niku, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic
Trade (5) - Beaulieu, Eakin, DeMelo, Pionk, Wheeler
Free Agency (7) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Perreault, Shaw
Waivers (3) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa, Shore

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