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Harrison to debut with Jets against Bruins

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com

BRUINS (16-13-3) at JETS (16-10-6)

TV: NESN, TSN3

WINNIPEG -- Veteran NHL defenseman Jay Harrison will be in the lineup for the Winnipeg Jets when they host the Boston Bruins on Friday.

After losing their top four defensemen to long-term injuries in the past three weeks, the Jets acquired the 32-year-old from the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in a trade for a sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft that originally belonged to the Ottawa Senators.

Harrison joins a blue line that is missing Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart each to a lower-body injury, and Jacob Trouba (upper body).

Harrison arrived after the morning skate and will play the left side of a pairing with Grant Clitsome. In 20 games with Carolina this season, Harrison had a goal and three assists.

"I hope to provide some stability on the back [end]," Harrison said. "A puck-moving, physical defenseman, as well as some leadership to get us over the hump [until] we get some of those regular guys back and to continue to move forward and to maintain the success that has been part of this team this season."

Harrison has played in 337 NHL games but never in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"[It is] a huge opportunity for me to come into a lineup that's established and [has] shown that they can win, and win big games over a good period of time," Harrison said. "I want to be part of that, and I want to contribute to that. That's sometimes the luck of the draw and how rosters turn out, but it's not something I take for granted or take lightly."

Jets coach Paul Maurice is familiar with Harrison, having coached him as a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect in the American Hockey League. Maurice later coached Harrison with Toronto and Carolina.

"Paul has had a huge effect on my career, coming in at a very up-and-down part of my career," Harrison said. "He simply helped me reveal to myself what I was capable of. From there, it acted as a springboard to move forward."

Maurice said he expects a quick transition for Harrison.

"He fits the identity of our hockey [team]," Maurice said. "He is a big man and he moves really well. He's a good skater, very competitive on the puck. He has played [a] fairly close [system with Carolina]. We run some things differently so [there is] is a bit of a learning curve, but [he offers] experience."

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien moved from forward to defense Dec. 5 after Bogosian and Enstrom went out with injuries, and he will be expected to shoulder a significant load for the next several weeks. Byfuglien has played at least 26 minutes in four of the past six games.

"It doesn't matter who is in or out," Byfuglien said. "We're going to stick together as a team and play our game and play our system."

With his retooled defense, Maurice has said he will be stressing simpler breakouts, better puck support for the defensemen, and more assistance from the forwards.

The Bruins had their morning skate after a day off Thursday prior to ending a three-game road trip. The Bruins are 3-4-3 in their past 10 games after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

Center David Krejci returned at Minnesota after missing 11 games with a groin injury. The Bruins went 3-5-3 without Krejci.

"It was a little bit different game," Krejci said of playing Monday. "I'm glad I got through it. I don't want it to happen again. [I'm] trying to play the game the right way and the rest will take care of itself."

The Bruins' familiarity with injuries means they can relate to what the Jets are experiencing.

"We know that there are a lot of injuries back there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But we had a lot of [injuries] in November and we still did fairly well. We can learn from that and know that it's not going to be an easy game."

Goalie Tuukka Rask will start and oppose Michael Hutchinson.

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Craig Cunningham

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Seidenberg - Zach Trotman

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Matt Fraser, Simon Gagne, Joe Morrow

Injured: Adam McQuaid (thumb)

JETS

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Adam Lowry - Matt Halischuk

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Jay Harrison - Grant Clitsome

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Julien Brouillette, TJ Galiardi

Injured: Zach Bogosian (lower body), Toby Enstrom (lower body), Mark Stuart (lower body), Jacob Trouba (upper body)

Status report: McQuaid will miss his 13th game. … Brouillette will play if Harrison can't.

Who's hot: Smith has four goals in his past six games. … Scheifele has two three-point games in his past three games. His linemate Perreault has one goal and four assists during a five-game point streak. … The Winnipeg power play has scored in five consecutive games and is 11-for-37 since Nov. 25.

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