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At the Rink: Stars at Jets

Winnipeg gets back forwards Perreault, Lowry

by Patrick Williams @pwilliamsNHL / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets will have a healthy lineup when they face the Dallas Stars at MTS Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW, TSN3, NHL.TV). 

Forward Mathieu Perreault is back in the Jets' lineup after missing their final game before the NHL All-Star break, and forward Adam Lowry will return after missing five games because of an upper-body injury. The Jets activated the pair from injured reserve Tuesday and placed forward Matt Halischuk on waivers. 

Lowry and Perreault each can play center. Lowry will center left wing Andrew Ladd and right wing Alexander Burmistrov. Perreault will move to the left wing on a line with center Bryan Little and right wing Drew Stafford.

"[Centers] are critical pieces," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "So we get healthy here. We look like…we're quite a bit deeper." 

Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck will start for the 20th time in the past 22 games. Stars coach Lindy Ruff will counter with goalie Antti Niemi, who will make his fourth consecutive start. 

Ruff will also dress defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in place of Jordie Benn (lower body). Oleksiak has played one game since Dec. 12; the Stars recalled him from Texas of the American Hockey League on Sunday after an eight-game conditioning assignment. 

The Jets sits nine points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They will attempt to make a push to the playoffs using a healthier lineup when they end a stretch of nine of 10 games at home. 

"[The break was] was really important," said Little, who had been battling an undisclosed injury before the break. "I think for me and a few other guys, [we] got healed up. It definitely makes a difference having some days off. I feel a lot better, and I'm sure that the guys that were sore before feel a lot better." 

Dallas resumes play three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. The Stars have three games in hand on the Blackhawks after going 3-6-2 in January and begin a stretch of seven of their next nine games on the road. 

"We've turned the page from January," Stars center Tyler Seguin said. "It's a new month. It's going to be a [31-game] sprint." 

"This is going to be another good test for us. This whole month, really." 

The Stars' return to the ice Monday pleased Ruff. 

"I thought practice [Monday] was great," Ruff said. "I thought players had energy, a lot of jump." 

However, Ruff is not sure what to expect after the long break. 
  
"I think you'll see some mistakes that maybe you don't normally see," he said. "Sometimes when you're playing a lot of games like everybody did in January, fatigue brings a lot of mistakes too. 

"Judging from practice where everybody went hard, I feel we're in the right place." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

STARS 

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp  

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves  

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ales Hemsky  

Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour - Valeri Nichushkin  

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg  

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers  

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jamie Oleksiak 

Antti Niemi 

Kari Lehtonen  

Injured: Jordie Benn (lower body) 

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth  

JETS 

Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler  

Mathieu Perreault - Bryan Little - Drew Stafford  

Andrew Ladd - Adam Lowry - Alexander Burmistrov  

Chris Thorburn - Andrew Copp - Joel Armia  

Jacob Trouba - Dustin Byfuglien  

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers  

Mark Stuart - Ben Chiarot  

Connor Hellebuyck 

Michael Hutchinson  

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Ondrej Pavelec (knee) 

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma  

Status report: Jordie Benn will be out for the seventh time in nine games. "Jordie for me looked apprehensive [Monday]," Ruff said. "I talked to him [Tuesday], and I just feel that he needs a couple more really good practices, and I'll probably get him back in [Thursday at the Colorado Avalanche]."…Postma has not played since Nov. 10. Pardy has dressed once since Nov. 28. 

Who's hot: Jamie Benn has four goals and two assists in his past seven games…Ehlers has a four-game point streak (four goals, two assists).

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