WINNIPEG - For a blue line that has dealt with injuries all season, Monday's practice was a welcome piece of good news.
Josh Morrissey was back in a regular jersey for the full half hour skate, which came after missing the last four games with an upper-body injury.
"I feel great and ready to go tomorrow," he said. "I'm all clear and ready to play."
The 24-year-old Morrissey had points in back-to-back games when he was forced out of the line-up.
He took the warm-up in Buffalo prior to the game against the Sabres on February 23, but wasn't able to play.
"You never want to miss games. That's your job, that's what I love to do," said Morrissey. "Especially at this time of year, every game is extremely important. I'm happy now to come back and just want to bring my best game in the next 15 games until the end of the season."
Video: PRACTICE | Josh Morrissey
With the injury behind him, Morrissey was paired with Dylan DeMelo on Monday. He's seen DeMelo get more comfortable in the Jets system and is looking forward to being paired with the former Ottawa Senator.
"He does everything really solid and really well," said Morrissey. "He makes consistent reads, he's good with the puck and makes little breakout plays. He's very consistent in everything he does. He's a good defender, he has a good stick defensively, and he's well positioned all over the ice.
"He's a really easy guy to read off of even after one practice."
DeMelo has spent the majority of his time since being acquired by the Jets on February 18 on the blue line with Nathan Beaulieu.
"I enjoyed playing with Beau a lot. I think he helped me a lot early on, especially with the systems. I had to lean on him for guidance and he helped me a lot," said DeMelo.
"Playing with Mo is going to be a lot of fun. He's an excellent player and one of our top d-men for sure. I don't need to change much of my game, I think our styles complement each other very well."
Video: PRACTICE | Dylan DeMelo
The rest of the Jets line rushes on Monday looked like this:
Tuesday's game against the Buffalo Sabres is the start of a three-game home stand, the longest remaining on the schedule for the Jets.
Buffalo won the first meeting of the season between the two teams, so the Jets will be looking to split the season series while also getting back in the win column following a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
The Jets had a day off on Sunday before hitting the ice Monday, something that head coach Paul Maurice likes, especially given how hectic the schedule was in February.
"We've got a higher number of games and they got jammed in. The payoff was we'd get into March this year and be able to have an off day, full skate, play, then after this one get into three games in five days," said Maurice.
"We feel we'll be going into these games rested and, it looks like, some health coming back into our line-up. Some guys aren't too far off. Hopefully that's the payoff for the grind we've been through."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
With 15 games to go, the Jets are outside of the playoff picture due to the Nashville Predators having three games in hand.
Two of those will be made up by the end of the month, as the Predators have 15 games in the month of March, while the Jets have 13, including a game in Nashville on March 24.
There are a number of other teams involved - including the Arizona Coyotes who the Jets host on March 9 - but the Jets are only focused on what they can control.
"We have to take care of our business pick up some wins here," said DeMelo.
"We've been playing really good hockey and when we play like that, we feel we can beat anybody in this league. We've done a good job of staying together here and working hard as a group. We have to keep that same approach and same mentality."
Patrik Laine - who missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury - didn't skate on Monday, but Maurice anticipates the Finnish forward will skate on Tuesday.
In addition, Adam Lowry, Mathieu Perreault, and Mark Letestu were wearing non-contact jerseys during the same session.
Maurice stressed this is just "day one" for Letestu, who was diagnosed with myocarditis in November, and the 30-minute skate would be about all the veteran forward should be expected to participate in at this point.