WINNIPEG - So many things have been going right for the Winnipeg Jets in the month of November.
They've lost only once in regulation, going 6-1-1 during the second month of the NHL season after Saturday's 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
But early Sunday morning, the Jets announced that defenceman Toby Enstrom will be lost for up to eight weeks with a lower-body injury. Considering the amount of man games lost to injury during the 2016-17 season, they've been fortunate to avoid long-term injuries like this in the opening quarter of the new campaign.
But that doesn't lessen the sting of losing a reliable Top 4 defender.
"He's been great all year and anytime you lose a guy who eats up a lot of minutes like him, it's going to be tough," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. "(It will) be an opportunity for some guys to step up. It's kind of what needs to happen because there are going to be injuries throughout the year."
Enstrom's injury has opened the door for Tucker Poolman, as he was called up by the Jets on Sunday morning and will join the Jets for their four-game road trip, which begins Monday in Nashville against the Western Conference champion and Central Division rival Predators.
For Poolman, it had been a hectic 18 hours or so.
"Last night they called me and said they didn't know what was going on (with Enstrom's injury)," explained Poolman. "There was a [Moose] game (Sunday) so I was getting ready for that, and they said be ready just in case you need to make a flight."
Video: PRACTICE | Tucker Poolman
Poolman has three games of NHL experience after making his Jets debut back on Oct. 9 in Edmonton. Between Poolman and fellow blueliner Ben Chairot, the Jets feel comfortable with whomever Head Coach Paul Maurice decides to put in Enstrom's place.
"They're great players as well," said Josh Morrissey. "We just have to step up and take over those minutes that Toby plays and hope that Toby recovers soon and gets healthy as fast as possible."
"I think we have three pairings that are really solid," continued Morrissey, when asked about the organizational depth at the position. "I feel confident with all of our defencemen so it's a nice thing to have, for sure."
Video: PRACTICE | Josh Morrissey
TOUGH TRIP AHEAD
It will be a challenging start to the road trip with Nashville leading things off and the current Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, but Wheeler didn't even want to look past the Predators when asked about the trip as a whole.
"It will be a big division test, our focus is on Nashville," said Wheeler, whose team is 4-0 against Central Division foes this year. "We'll take each game as they come. It's kind of what we've been doing all year and it's always a difficult building (to play in) no matter what. Obviously they made it to the Finals last year and (are) carrying a lot of momentum from that into this year."
Video: PRACTICE | Blake Wheeler
The Predators recently added Kyle Turris as part of a blockbuster three-team trade involving themselves, Ottawa and Colorado and sit in third spot in the Central with 24 points, just three back of Winnipeg.
"They're going to be a tough challenge and we like that challenge," said Mark Scheifele. "We're definitely all excited especially playing a divisional game."
- Jamie Thomas, WinnipegJets.com