WINNIPEG -- Marko Dano loves to play against the Vancouver Canucks.
In three career games against them, Dano has put up four goals and six points, including the three he notched in his first match up against Vancouver in a Winnipeg Jets uniform.
He’ll have another shot at them tonight, when the Jets (29-37-6) host the Canucks (27-32-12) in the third game of a four-game home stand.
“It’s a good feeling to add those points in the previous games,” said Dano following this morning’s pre-game skate. “This is a new game. We just have to be ready for the start. I feel confident against them. But like I said, I have to be ready, and prepare myself to play a simple game and a hard game.”
That night was memorable for both Dano and line mate Alexander Burmistrov, who along with Mathieu Perreault, combined for seven points in a 5-2 win.
But the line will look different tonight, as Perreault will not play because of the concussion he sustained in Sunday’s loss to Anaheim. Drew Stafford is expected to fill Perreault’s spot on the wing.
“He’s a shooter. We’re going to probably try to feed him as much as we can, and make him shoot,” said Burmistrov. “The two of us have to shoot too. We’re going to have opportunities to shoot the puck.”
The 24-year-old Burmistrov has talked about a focus on shooting the puck more himself, and it’s shown in his stats. Not only is he shooting more, but more pucks are getting to the net. In the last 14 games, Burmistrov has 22 shots on goal, and seven of his 18 overall points.
Dano has been around for 11 of those games, and has played the bulk of them with Burmistrov. Dano credits similar hockey backgrounds as one of the reasons to the chemistry between the two.
“We’re from Europe, we have the same kind of hockey sense. He’s a great player,” Dano said of Burmistrov. “As the time goes and we play more together, the chemistry is coming together. It’s a good thing to play with a guy more and more so we get used to each other, and we profit from that.”
That line isn’t the only one potentially seeing a change tonight. Nic Petan jumped up to the wing with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele at this morning’s skate.
“I’ve liked the way he’s looked when he’s come up,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “The thing you’re looking for in amateurs when they turn pro is will they get to a quickness level in the game that will allow them to show you what they can do with their other skills. He’s got some really good quickness there.”
Petan definitely has skill. The 20-year-old put up 457 points in four seasons with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, and represented Canada twice at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Now with 16 games of NHL experience (14 earlier in the season, and two since his emergency recall) Petan is relishing the opportunity he’s presented with on his 21st birthday.
“It’s a great opportunity for myself. Just (have to) keep up with them and try to get more offence going here,” said Petan, who says he’s felt good in his two games since coming up from the Manitoba Moose. “I’m just trying to keep moving my feet. I think working hard is the most important part.”
“He’s performed well enough in the games he’s been here to get a chance. That would be the guy I’d want to see in that hole,” Maurice said. “He’s played against the other team’s best in amateur and world tournaments because he’s at that skill level and he’s going to play with those kind of guys on our team.”
Puck drop tonight is 7 pm CT.
INJURY BUG BITES AGAIN
The Winnipeg Jets recalled Julian Melchiori from the Manitoba Moose this morning, as Toby Enstrom will have surgery this week on his knee.
Maurice says the defenceman has been dealing with the injury since November, and will be out indefinitely.
“He’s been able to get through it because of blocks of days off. If he can get a two-day block he’d get a little better,” said Maurice. “It’s just getting worse, and it continues to get worse. It got to the point, he’s not recovering and he hasn’t been for almost a month now.
“We just can’t have the injury get any worse than it is… If we were pushing for the playoffs today, he’d still be getting it done. It’s just gotten to a point that we can’t manage the pain anymore.”