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Perreault moves closer to a return, sheds non-contact jersey

"It's just a matter of getting back in shape and getting in the line-up soon." -Perreault

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - The number of players in non-contact jerseys continues to dwindle as each day goes by.

On Tuesday, both Mathieu Perreault and Mark Letestu ditched those golden uniforms for regular blue forward jerseys.

Letestu, who was diagnosed with myocarditis early this season, is cleared to play but has a ways to go before his conditioning gets back to the level it needs to be at.

"His heart rate has been held very low for six months," said head coach Paul Maurice. "So 30 minutes yesterday felt like a day of training camp for him. So it's going to be a while before he can build back to be a player."

It's a different story for Mathieu Perreault, who has been out since January 31 with an upper-body injury he sustained on a hit from Karson Kuhlman of the Boston Bruins.

Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault

Perreault is hopeful he can return in one of the final two games of this three-game home stand.

"The last couple of days have been really good," said Perreault. "Now it's just a matter of getting back in shape and getting in the line-up soon."

Perreault missed six games earlier this season due to a late hit from Philadelphia Flyers forward Joel Farabee, but unlike that hit, the Jets forward has no issue with the check he took from Kuhlman.

"It was a clean hit," said Perreault. "This one is on me to keep my head on a swivel and be aware of this guy coming in on me."

It has been tough for the 32-year-old to watch his team battle for points without his help on the ice. But he knows it's a delicate balance between rushing back and making sure he doesn't re-injure himself coming back too early.

"Getting thrown into a game would be what I'm hoping for soon. This is the hard way to do it, you just get back into it. You're not going to feel really good in the first one, but you just have to get through it," said Perreault.

"I want to come and help the guys," said Perreault. "We're fighting for a playoff spot here. I just want to be able to get out there, help the boys get some points in the standings."

LOWRY NEARING A RETURN

Adam Lowry was the lone skater in a non-contact jersey on Tuesday, but Maurice feels the forward isn't far away from joining his teammates in blue.

"Adam is at the tail end of the gold," said Maurice. "We're hoping that in the next two or three days he'll come out of that and get into contact."

Lowry hasn't played since suffering an upper-body injury in Chicago on January 19.

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