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GAMEDAY: Jets vs Red Wings

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

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - For the first time since November 5, Gabriel Bourque will be in the Winnipeg Jets line-up.

The 29-year-old has missed the last 14 games with a lower-body injury, but will draw in on the left wing with Nick Shore and Logan Shaw tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.

"He makes real good decisions with the puck. He's heavy on the forecheck. He'll block shots," Maurice said of Bourque. "He's more than willing to do all the hard things that you come to expect from a player who has spent his career in that role. He's got a wonderful personality on the bench and brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the game."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Bourque will join a Jets squad that has gone 2-0-1 to start the month of December and is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

However, Blake Wheeler says the Jets won't be caught taking the Detroit Red Wings (0-9-1 in their last 10 games) lightly.

"They had a little bit of a break before their last game and kind of reinvested themselves," Wheeler said of the Red Wings, who fell 5-3 to the Penguins on December 7, their first game since December 2.

"They're obviously trying to turn their season around. When you haven't had the wins or the bounces go your way, there is going to be a level of compete to get things right. Certainly, that's going to be for us as well."

Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler

Bourque's insertion into the line-up will be the only change in terms of skaters for the Jets, who will also have Laurent Brossoit between the pipes tonight.

Brossoit was 2-0-0 against the Red Wings last season with a 0.952 save percentage.

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

Connor-Scheifele-Laine

Ehlers-Wheeler-Roslovic

Copp-Lowry-Perreault

Bourque-Shore-Shaw

Morrissey-Poolman

Sbisa-Pionk

Bitetto-Beaulieu

To help the Jets get to the 18-10-2 record they have, they've put together a 6-1-1 record in their last eight home games and their 10 road wins are tied for the third most in the NHL.

But most importantly, they've been playing as a group of five on the ice. 

Or six, in the mind of Maurice.

"We'll have to make that a six-man unit because one of the real good stories about our group is the back end and our goalies," said Maurice.

"You can see it in practice. Our goaltenders have bought our back-end time to feel good about themselves and the style of play. They're battling, not everything is going to be clean. Maybe we're not going to drive a lot of offence from our back end, but those guys battle hard.

"The goalies like playing behind these guys and our defence have a really good awareness of how important our goalies are."

Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey

The results the Jets have enjoyed (and the confidence that comes from it) began back in training camp, according to Wheeler. Winnipeg's mindset has been that those results came from hard work and staying in the fight. 

That doesn't change regardless of opponent.

"That's what our game built on," he said. "Anything short of that, it doesn't matter what the other team's record is, we're not going to give ourselves a chance. We come to every game with that mindset. Hopefully we bring that tonight."

The Red Wings (7-21-3) will start Eric Comrie in goal. 

Comrie was drafted by Winnipeg in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played 183 games in the American Hockey League for the St. John's IceCaps and the Manitoba Moose combined, while also getting five NHL games with the Jets. 

The 24-year-old Edmonton, AB product started the season in Jets training camp before being claimed off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes.

Arizona then traded Comrie to Detroit on November 30. Comrie saw his first NHL action of the season on December 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he made four saves in 8:13 of ice time in relief of Jonathan Bernier.

"This guy might be the nicest guy on the face of the earth. Hard working. Stay on the ice all day, take 2,000 shots, 'How are you doing Eric?' 'Great I had a great day today,'" said Maurice, reflecting on Comrie's time with the organization.

"He's just a wonderful personality. I'm really happy he's getting the chance to be back in the NHL. I wish the best for him after a couple of days from now. I really do. There is a guy we should all be pulling for. He's top-five best guys ever. If you know him, you know I'm not exaggerating."

Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets finish a two-game homestand tonight when they take on the Detroit Red Wings, which begins a home-and-home set between the two clubs...The Jets beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in the first game of the homestand...The back half of the home-and-home set goes Thursday in Detroit.

Last Game

Dec. 8 vs. ANA - 3-2 W

 Jets Scorers: Scheifele (12, 13), Lowry (3)

Ducks Scorers: Silfverberg (11), Shore (1)

Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (31 sv, 2 ga)

Ducks Goaltender: John Gibson (30 sv, 3 ga)

Jets PP: 1-for-4
Jets PK: 2-for-2

Recap: Mark Scheifele scored twice to lead the Jets to a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday afternoon...Adam Lowry had the other tally for the Jets, while Mathieu Perreault had two assists...Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves, including 14 in the third period, to earn the win...Blake Wheeler led the Jets with four shots, while Anthony Bitetto and Nathan Beaulieu each had three blocked shots.

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

READ THE GAME NOTES

Home Ice

The Jets return to Bell MTS Place for consecutive home games for the first time in nearly a month...The Jets play five of the seven games they have remaining before the Christmas break at home...Winnipeg is 8-5-1 on home ice this season, but are 6-1-1 in their past eight home contests...The Jets have outscored their opponents 12-6 in their past three home games and have won three consecutive home games for the first time this season... Mark Scheifele (7G, 5A) leads the Jets in scoring at home with 12 points in 14 games.

Against the East

The Jets are 5-4-1 against the Eastern Conference this season...Winnipeg has won three consecutive games against the Eastern Conference, but been outscored 35-28 in the 10 games this season.

One Goal

The Jets are 12-2-2 in one-goal games this season, which is the most wins in the NHL...Winnipeg's 16 one-goal games is tied for third most in the NHL.

Late Winners

Mark Scheifele's game-winner in the third period on Sunday is Winnipeg's 10th game-winning goal scored in the third period or overtime this season, which is tied for third in the NHL...Scheifele and Kyle Connor each have three game-winning goals in third periods or overtime this season.

400 Points

Mark Scheifele reached 400 career points with his two goals on Sunday...He's the sixth player in franchise history to reach 400 points...His 164 goals are fourth in franchise history.

Helluva Run

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has turned away more than 92% of the shots he's faced in five consecutive starts and six consecutive appearances...He's allowed two goals or less in four his past five starts, stopping 150 of 157 shots (1.40 goals against average and .955 save percentage)...On the season, Hellebuyck is first in the NHL with 15 wins, third with a .934 save percentage and fifth with a 2.20 goals-against average.

Face-Off Success

Andrew Copp won 11-of-15 face-offs (74%) on Sunday...He's won 57.1% (113-for-198) of his face-offs this season, which is a career high...His 11 face-off wins on Sunday matched a season high and was three shy of his career high for face-off wins in a game.

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 (8) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Luoto, Perreault, Shaw

Waivers (3) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa, Shore

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