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Injuries mounting on defense for Winnipeg

by Mike G. Morreale
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils weren’t the only team to skate at Prudential Center this morning hit hard by the injury bug.
The Winnipeg Jets were forced to call up yet another defenseman Friday -- Paul Postma -- to replace injured Randy Jones in the lineup. The 22-year-old had played in 10 games with the St. John's IceCaps this season, producing two goals and eight points. Postma played in his first and only NHL game last season with the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Jets are without four regulars along the blueline in Tobias Enstrom (broken collarbone), Mark Stuart (upper body), Ron Hainsey (upper body) and Jones (foot contusion). The club actually placed Enstrom on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 31. Additionally, Derek Meech (lower-body) won't be ready until after the Jets return home Nov. 10. The club is currently playing the fifth of a seven-game road swing (3-1-0).
"We have guys banged up so Paul was added to the roster," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "He'll play some power-play, but we just want him to defend, be responsible and move the puck … play simple. Sometimes it's easier to play at this level than the American League, and I've watched him on tape from last year. He looked OK. He was good in training camp and was disappointed to be sent back."
Postma, who will likely be paired with Johnny Oduya in his season debut Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center, is looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.
"I got the call (Friday) and it wasn't my first call up, so I've been there before so nerves aren't exactly what they used to be," Postma said. "But with all the injuries, I'm just glad I get a chance to play."
Noel will also go right back to Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes. Pavelec, fresh off a 34-save shutout in a 3-0 win Thursday against the New York Islanders, will be backed up by Peter Mannino.
"He's going to play, he's on a roll," Noel said of Pavelec. "I won't hesitate playing him back-to-back (Saturday and Sunday) either. It's not an issue. I'd ride him right now with the way he is performing."
When asked if his team will play any differently knowing Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk will be sidelined by injury, Noel admitted that wouldn't be the case.
"(Kovalchuk's) a guy who can really break a game open," Noel said. "He's a guy you need to be aware of on the power play. We'll have to manage our game intelligently with the defense we have and spend as little time as we can in our zone … find ways to exploit their game. This is a game we feel we can win."
Here's what the projected lineup looks like for the Jets following their morning skate:
Andrew LaddBryan LittleKyle Wellwood
Evander KaneNik Antropov – Alex Burmistrov
Tanner GlassJim SlaterChris Thorburn
Kenndal McArdleTim StapletonBlake Wheeler
Dustin ByfuglienMark Flood
Zach BogosianBrett Festerling
Johnny OduyaPaul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec
Peter Mannino
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