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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Jets

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com

WINNIPEG -- The 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend could not have arrived at a better time for the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday before they begin their break, which ends Jan. 27. The game Wednesday follows a stretch of seven games in 11 days for the Jets, who have battled an assortment of injuries to their defense corps since late-November.

Winnipeg will have defenseman Jacob Trouba back in the lineup against Columbus after they activated him from injured reserve Wednesday. Trouba has not played since Dec. 13, missing 16 games because of an upper-body injury.

However the Jets will sit out defenseman Mark Stuart, who has an undisclosed injury, until after the break. Stuart played six games after returning to the Winnipeg lineup from a lower-body injury sustained Dec. 16.

With Stuart out, Trouba will pair with defenseman Jay Harrison.

To make room for Trouba on the roster the Jets placed left wing Mathieu Perreault on injured reserve Wednesday. Perreault sustained an upper-body injury after Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo cross-checked him in a game Jan. 16. The NHL suspended Carcillo for six games Monday. Perreault's projected return date remains unknown.

The Jets have won four consecutive games, but center Bryan Little said they will guard against looking past the game Wednesday and toward the break they will use to rest and heal their injuries. Little, who has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, participated in the morning skate for the first time in the past several games.

"There is no easy game in this League, especially tonight right before the break," Little said. "[Each] team is going to want to come out and end it on a good note. We had kind of our worst stretch after we came off our Christmas break, so we know that it's really important to go into this [break] on the right note."

Jets coach Paul Maurice said he is wary of facing the Blue Jackets.

"This is a good team," Maurice said of Columbus. "They play a structured game. They play hard. The team that we're going to see is the team that made the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs last season. They're feeling good about their game, and they should."

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards will maintain the same lineup that he used in a 2-0 win against the Minnesota Wild on Monday. Columbus has won two games in a row after a four-game losing streak.

Richards is as wary of the Jets as Maurice is of the Blue Jackets. Each team relies on a speed game complemented by considerable size and physical play.

"We've got to play with that edge too," Richards said. "We have to come out and use our speed. Our physical [players] are going to have to get in and get physical."

Like Little, Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell warned against looking past the game.

"You can't get sidetracked about what you're doing in a couple of days," Hartnell said. "[You have to focus on Winnipeg] and not worry about which beach you're going to and that kind of stuff. We have to be really dialed in mentally."

Columbus will start Sergei Bobrovsky in goal while the Jets will counter with Michael Hutchinson.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUE JACKETS

Scott Hartnell - Brandon Dubinsky - Josh Anderson

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Jeremy Morin

Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg - Cam Atkinson

Corey Tropp - Mark Letestu - Jack Skille

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Kevin Connauton - James Wisniewski

Dalton Prout - Fedor Tyutin

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Cody Goloubef, Jordan Leopold, Jared Boll

Injured: Artem Anisimov (torn triceps), Brian Gibbons (knee), Nathan Horton (back), Boone Jenner (back), Ryan Murray (knee)

JETS

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Chris Thorburn - Adam Lowry - Matt Halischuk

TJ Galiardi - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Zach Bogosian

Jay Harrison - Jacob Trouba

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Paul Postma

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Mark Stuart (undisclosed)

Status report: Boll will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Before being a healthy scratch against Minnesota, Boll was one of three Columbus players that had dressed for every game this season.

Who's hot: Wisniewski had a goal and two assists at Minnesota. … Hartnell has two goals and two assists during a three-game points streak. … Johansen's 13-game point streak (eight goals, eight assists), the longest of the season in the League, ended Monday. … The Columbus power play ranks third in the League and has a goal in 10 of the past 12 games.

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