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At the Rink: Avalanche at Jets

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets will have a new look on defense when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

Coach Paul Maurice disclosed three significant injuries to the Winnipeg defense corps after practice Thursday that included the team's top pairing.

Defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower body) will be out 4-6 weeks and was placed on injured reserve. It is thought that Bogosian injured his foot blocking a shot in the Jets' 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Toby Enstrom, Bogosian's partner on the Jets' top pairing, already had missed the past four games with a lower-body injury before Maurice announced that he will be out until the end of December.

Defenseman Grant Clitsome (undisclosed) also did not dress for the game Wednesday and will be out for a minimum of two weeks, according to Maurice.

The Jets recalled defenseman Julien Brouillette from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Brouillette, who turned 28 years old Friday, played 10 games with the Washington Capitals last season in his only NHL stint. Brouillette signed with the Jets during the summer as a free agent and has two goals in 11 games with St. John's this season.

Brouillette participated in the morning skate Friday but will not play against the Avalanche.

Another recall from St. John's this week, defenseman Ben Chiarot, will join Dustin Byfuglien in a new defense pairing. Before moving to right wing in the middle of last season, Byfuglien had spent much of his career as a defenseman.

"I think it will be fun," Chiarot said of playing with Byfuglien. "Obviously he is a guy with a lot of skill in [the NHL]. He has played for a long time. I don't think this is his first time going from forward back to [defense] with a young guy."

Byfuglien skated as a defenseman at practice Thursday and at the morning skate Friday.

"We're lucky that we have [Byfuglien] up front with his skill and talent that we can just put him back there and has enough experience that it isn't going to take him that long to get used to playing that position again," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart said after the morning skate.

Stuart will remain with Jacob Trouba as the Jets' top pairing. Adam Pardy and Paul Postma will comprise the other pairing.

To replace Byfuglien at forward, right wing Matt Halischuk will move to the third line in place of right wing Michael Frolik. Maurice will move Frolik to the second line with left wing Evander Kane and center Mathieu Perreault.

"There is an energy level to [Halischuk's] game," Maurice said. "Quickness and something that we need more of from [left wing Adam] Lowry and [center Mark] Scheifele, that higher cadence in everything that you do."

The Avalanche finish their two-game road trip after losing 4-3 in overtime to the Calgary Flames on Thursday. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov returned in net for the first time in six games and made 21 saves in the loss.

Colorado did not hold a morning skate Friday after arriving from Calgary early in the morning. The Avalanche are 0-2-1 in the second half of back-to-back games this season.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson will start for the Jets. Reto Berra, who has not played since Nov. 25, is a possibility to start for the Avalanche.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Tanguay - Matt Duchene - Ryan O'Reilly

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla

Maxime Talbot - Michael Sgarbossa - Daniel Briere

Cody McLeod - Tomas Vincour - Nick Holden

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Karl Stollery - Zach Redmond

Reto Berra

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: None

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Marc-Andre Cliche (oblique), Dennis Everberg (separated shoulder), Jamie McGinn (back), John Mitchell (leg), Ben Street (hand), Brad Stuart (hamstring), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Mathieu Perreault - Michael Frolik

Adam Lowry - Mark Scheifele - Matt Halischuk

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Julien Brouillette, TJ Galiardi

Injured: Zach Bogosian (lower body), Grant Clitsome (undisclosed), Toby Enstrom (lower body)

Status report: The Avalanche have 125 man-games lost to injury this season. … Nine players are out of the Colorado lineup, with six of them on injured reserve. … Galiardi, who cleared waivers last week but was not assigned to the AHL, will be a healthy scratch for the 10th consecutive game.

Who's hot: Tanguay scored Thursday and has a four-game points streak (two goals, four assists). … The Jets scored first Wednesday against Edmonton, the seventh consecutive game they have done so and the 17th time in 26 games this season … Trouba had the first three-point game of his career Wednesday with a goal and two assists … Byfuglien has scored in his past two games.

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