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Injuries force Jets to find new third defense pairing

by Patrick Williams /

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets picked up a badly needed 4-3 shootout win on home ice Friday against the St. Louis Blues, but the victory came with a cost.

The Winnipeg blue line lost its third pairing Friday, forcing the Jets to skate with four defensemen for much of the third period. Dustin Byfuglien skated a career-high 31:37 in picking up the workload after the Jets lost rookie Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart to injuries.

Trouba left the game on a stretcher after falling face-first into the end boards while attempting to hit Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold. Trouba was released from a Winnipeg hospital late Friday night and is expected to miss a month with a neck sprain. Trouba's partner, Mark Stuart, exited the game in the third period after crashing into the Winnipeg net.

Jets coach Claude Noel will dress Paul Postma and Adam Pardy, a recall from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Saturday, in place of Stuart and Trouba.

"It doesn't matter who we have in our jerseys," Byfuglien said of the Jets' injury situation, "[we're] going to do what we have to do."

Noel will return right wing Devin Setoguchi, a surprise healthy scratch Friday, to the lineup in place of Jim Slater, who has an undisclosed injury. Noel wants Setoguchi to involve himself more in the offensive zone.

"We just want players to play well and to try to get them to play to their capabilities," Noel said of scratching Setoguchi against the Blues.

The Jets will wrap up a six-game homestand Tuesday night before a four-game road trip, and Noel wants to see the game against Nashville be a step toward eradicating the inconsistency that has plagued the Jets' team game this season. Winnipeg had lost four of five games before rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period against the Blues.

"We have an opportunity after the last game, especially coming from behind, to use this as a stepping stone or building block to have another consistent game. That's what we have to focus on for us."

While the Jets held an optional morning skate Sunday at MTS Centre, the Predators stayed at their downtown hotel after a late arrival from Montreal, where they scratched out a 2-1 win Saturday against the Canadiens. The Predators play eight of their next 10 games on the road.

Center Mike Fisher (lower body) missed the game Saturday and is day-to-day, according to the Predators.

It is expected that Predators coach Barry Trotz will give Carter Hutton his first start of the season Sunday. Hutton's only previous duty has been relief work Oct. 3 against St. Louis. Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start for Winnipeg.

Here are the probable lineups for the Predators and Jets on Sunday:


Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Gabriel Bourque - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith

Eric Nystrom - Nick Spaling - Filip Forsberg

Viktor Stalberg - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks

Seth Jones - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Kevin Klein

Victor Bartley - Ryan Ellis

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Rich Clune

Injured: Roman Josi (concussion), Mike Fisher (lower body)


Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Andrew Ladd - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

James Wright - Olli Jokinen - Devin Setoguchi

Anthony Peluso - Patrice Cormier - Matt Halischuk

Grant Clitsome - Dustin Byfuglien

Tobias Enstrom - Zach Bogosian

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Scratched: Eric Tangradi

Injured: Jim Slater (undisclosed), Mark Stuart (lower body), Chris Thorburn (lower body), Jacob Trouba (upper body)

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