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Jets' Kane out until February; Hutchinson to face Wild

by Patrick Williams

WILD (16-13-4) at JETS (19-10-7)


WINNIPEG -- Goaltender Michael Hutchinson will be in and left wing Evander Kane will be out for the Winnipeg Jets when they finish a home-and-home series with the Minnesota Wild at MTS Centre on Monday.

Kane will be out until early February with a lower-body injury he sustained in a 4-3 overtime win at Minnesota on Saturday, Jets coach Paul Maurice announced after the morning skate. Kane has six goals and nine assists in 26 games after missing eight games in October with a knee injury.

Maurice will move left wing Chris Thorburn to Kane's spot on the third line with center Adam Lowry and right wing Matt Halischuk. TJ Galiardi will replace Thorburn at left wing on the fourth line. The Jets also recalled left wing Patrice Cormier from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Sunday, but he will not dress.

Hutchinson will start for the third consecutive game and the fourth time in the past five games.

"[Hutchinson's] play has been stellar for an awfully long time," Maurice said, adding Hutchinson having faced Minnesota on Saturday also factored into his decision.

The overtime win Saturday pushed Winnipeg nine points ahead of Minnesota, but the Wild have three games in hand.

Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin and center Mikael Granlund each sustained an upper-body injury against Winnipeg in the game Saturday. The Wild put Granlund on injured reserve Sunday and recalled center Tyler Graovac and left wing Brett Sutter from the Iowa Wild of the AHL.

Graovac, 21, a seventh-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut Monday.

"I bring a lot of size, speed [and] if you need me in the top-six or the bottom-six, I can be both," said Graovac, who leads Iowa with 12 goals and is tied for the team lead with 24 points. "I have a lot of confidence in my game right now."

Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said, "[Graovac] had a really good training camp for us. He has earned the opportunity to come up and show us what he can do. I think for me the biggest difference was his [ability to] compete and his battle in the hard areas."

Wild captain Mikko Koivu will replace Granlund on the top line with left wing Zach Parise and right wing Jason Pominville. Charlie Coyle will shift to center on the second line, with Thomas Vanek as the right wing after moving from the third line.

Yeo also said center Erik Haula will be a healthy scratch Monday. Haula has three goals in 30 games this season, and Graovac will replace him as the third-line center.

"It's kind of an odd time to scratch [Haula] with the fact that we're losing [Granlund], but what it comes down to is we need the player that we know he can be, and we need it more than ever," Yeo said.

Minnesota sent defenseman Justin Falk to Iowa on Sunday. Christian Folin and Nate Prosser will replace Brodin and Falk.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who missed his scheduled start Saturday because of food poisoning, will start.

Here are the projected lineups:


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Charlie Coyle - Thomas Vanek

Matt Cooke - Tyler Graovac - Justin Fontaine

Brett Sutter - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Carter

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Christian Folin

Nate Prosser - Stu Bickel

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Nate Prosser, Christian Folin

Injured: Niklas Backstrom (illness), Keith Ballard (head/face), Jonas Brodin (upper body), Mikael Granlund (upper body), Jason Zucker (illness)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Chris Thorburn - Adam Lowry - Matt Halischuk

TJ Galiardi - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Jay Harrison - Grant Clitsome

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Julien Brouillette, Patrice Cormier

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

Status report: Yeo said Brodin could be a possibility to play Wednesday when the Wild visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. …Yeo said Granlund is on a week-to-week basis. … Backstrom and Zucker each remain out with illnesses, and Yeo said he does not expect them to dress against Columbus. … Sutter will play on the fourth line.

Who's hot: Byfuglien has a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists). … Perreault's eight-game point streak ended Saturday, but he has points in eight of his past 10 games.

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