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Jets get first look at T-Mobile Arena at Thursday's practice

Maurice says Hellebuyck will start against Golden Knights tomorrow

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Thursday's 45-minute skate at T-Mobile Arena was the first time the Winnipeg Jets got to check out the home facility of the Vegas Golden Knights, one day before the two teams face off for the first time since the city joined the NHL.

"It's very nice - first-class locker rooms, change rooms, facilities. It's been great," said Matt Hendricks. "You can tell they put a lot of effort and time into setting this up."

The Jets haven't seen game action since Monday night's 4-1 win over Dallas, the first of three stops on the road trip.

In the win, the Jets held Dallas' top-ranked power play to one goal on four opportunities, an improvement from the 5-4 overtime loss to Montreal, when the team's penalty kill gave up three on six Canadiens power plays.

Video: PRACTICE | Matt Hendricks

"It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but we tried to take as much time and space away from those guys as we could," said Hendricks. "Any time you have that level of talent on a power play, and you give them time and space, they seem to make plays. When there were breakdowns, (Connor Hellebuyck) came up with the big save."

The penalty kill was one of the situations that was worked on during today's skate, along with the power play, which surged to the fourth best in the NHL, thanks to going 7-for-15 in the last five games.

The power play has also had a bit of a new wrinkle over that span, with Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine rotating spots throughout the course of their time on the ice.

"Before that, in terms of where they end up standing, it's the movement. That's been the general theme," said head coach Paul Maurice. "I think when you look at trying to identify why our power play has gotten better and put pucks to the net, it's faster and it's moving quicker, and we're not nearly as stationary in our positioning.

"It started really with the four-on-three goal that Mark scored from the half wall. Then he and Patrik started to interchange quite a bit. We know Blake (Wheeler) and Dustin (Byfuglien) will do that as well. Now you've got more movement, which just makes you faster, which would also be also the thing that we'd like to think has been the difference in our five-on-five game as well."

Video: PRACTICE | Dmitry Kulikov

The power play units remained the same, as did the full five-on-five line rushes from the win over the Stars:








For the second straight day, Mathieu Perreault took part in the full practice and continues to get closer to a return. He's been out since Oct. 14 with a lower-body injury.

"He's still not there yet, but he's back in the full drills," said Maurice.

"I can't give you a date and a time, he still has to be cleared by the doctors. But he can take bumping and grinding now. Then it's just conditioning."

Maurice also confirmed that Connor Hellebuyck will start in goal against the Golden Knights (9-5-1), Hellebuyck has a 0.936 save percentage (third in the NHL among goalies with at least 10 games played), and a 8-0-2 record this season.

"It's a different concept of an expansion team. It has nothing to do with years past," said Maurice. "These guys can play hockey and they're a good team. There's not the casual feel of playing an expansion team. We have a real good understanding of how good they are."

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