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Petan feeling confident entering final preseason game

Could play on a line with Scheifele & Wheeler on Saturday in Calgary

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

WINNIPEG - Nic Petan isn't letting it consume him.

He knows that after 15 days of putting his best foot forward, he's done all he can to prove he belongs.  

"I'm just trying to work hard every day and earn my spot," he said. "Hopefully I've done enough. I want to put everything I have into this one last game here and see what happens after that."

Petan skated on the top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler at Friday's practice, and could very well get a look there in Saturday's preseason finale against the Calgary Flames. Head Coach Paul Maurice did caution that with some "health issues" to Matt Hendricks and Adam Lowry, the forward lines could look a bit different at this time tomorrow.

Neither Hendricks nor Lowry took part in Friday's workout, but are expected back on the ice tomorrow and could factor into the lineup as the 2-3-1 Jets look to finish the exhibition campaign with a victory in the Stampede City.

Tweet from @ryandittrick: #NHLJets lines at practice (in order of them being run):19-55-2627-18-2981-9-5613-16-4685-52-40

Regardless, if Petan does line up in that spot come Saturday, he couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.

"Anytime anyone gets to play with those two, [it shows] you've done something right so far," he said.

"I'm just going to keep playing the way I know I can."

Petan had a goal and set up the game-winner from Marko Dano in Wednesday's comeback win over the Senators, and has four points in as many preseason games, putting him fifth in team scoring behind only Patrik Laine, Dustin Byfuglien, Nikolaj Ehlers and Scheifele.

In 80 NHL games, the 22-year-old has three goals and 19 points over two seasons with the big club, but nearly his entire pro career has spent in the middle, often centering the Jets' fourth line in more of a depth role.

Now on the wing, and alongside two of the league's best, he's counted on to produce offensively.

"I'm just playing the game with a lot more confidence now," Petan said. "I'm carrying the puck more and I'm calmer with it, but my quick decision-making as always been there. Obviously I've had some good linemates in these preseason games as well, but it's been good so far."

On Wednesday, Petan played almost 15 minutes, had three shots and was a fixture on the top power-play unit, where he did a great job distributing the puck on the half wall. He also saw plenty of Ottawa's top guns including Kyle Turris and Winnipeg native Mark Stone, who got the upper-hand early with a second-period goal that helped the Sens open up a two-goal lead, but got the last laugh with a beautiful feed on the game-winning goal with only 6:48 to play.

"Anytime you get moved up in the lineup, you want to bring your 'A' effort and make it work," Petan said. "I felt really good. I felt like I belonged there and could play against those guys. Even though I'm a smaller player, I still feel stronger out there. I had a big summer of (training) and came into camp feeling stronger, and it's being proven."

- Ryan Dittrick,

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