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Kulikov, Hendricks full participants as Jets start five days of practice

Scheifele and Matthias stay off the ice for maintenance

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - One day after a 4-3 regulation win over the Minnesota Wild, the Winnipeg Jets took to the ice for the first of four practice days before their next game in Pittsburgh.

That many consecutive days of practice allow for head coach Paul Maurice to focus on the team's speed before the schedule intensifies, with four games in six days to wrap up October.

"It's actually longer than training camp, you never get five days. We've felt that in our last five games there have been a lot of good things to it, but we'd like to try to play a little bit faster here. So we're going to use it to kind of really focus in on that," said Maurice.

"(We'll) cut the duration down a little bit and try to get really as high of a pace as we can on every single drill, and focus on that speed now."

Video: PRACTICE | Kyle Connor

Mark Scheifele and Shawn Matthias were the only two players that participated in last night's game that didn't skate in practice at Bell MTS Iceplex today, along with injured Jets Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry.

"Both could have practiced today," Maurice said of Scheifele and Matthias. "Both are 100 per cent for Monday.

"It'll be good healing time. We're hopeful to get Lowry on the ice on Monday possibly and see where he's at moving forward. All the other bumps and bruises that you carry the entire year, a five day block gives you a chance to heal up."

With those players out, the line rushes looked a bit different in practice today:









Dmitry Kulikov and Matt Hendricks got rid of the bright yellow non-contact jerseys and were in regular practice jerseys today. The five-day break serving as a chance for them to get ready to get back in the line-up.

"That yellow didn't look good on me. I'm feeling good and I'm glad to be back at practice," said Kulikov.

"I was fortunate that it wasn't bad at all. I'm glad that we don't play, our next game is in five days. I'm happy about that because I can get some reps with the team in practices, and get myself feeling good again on the ice."

An upper-body injury has kept Kulikov sidelined for two games, but he has progressed much quicker than Maurice thought he would when Kulikov first sustained the injury against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Video: PRACTICE | Dmitry Kulikov

But with players getting more healthy, Maurice and his staff know they'll have to make some decisions regarding the roster ahead of the team's first set of back-to-back games - in Pittsburgh and Columbus - next week.

"We've got guys coming back in. We've got to get harder on that bottom six," said Maurice, adding that Lemieux's debut yesterday makes that decision tougher, because he liked how the 21-year-old played in his debut.

The Jets are off tomorrow before getting back to practice on Monday morning.

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