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Kane skates with rest of Winnipeg Jets as his return to lineup gets closer

NHL.com @NHL

WINNIPEG - Forward Evander Kane skated with his teammates for the first time Monday since suffering a knee injury in the Winnipeg Jets' season opener but still hasn't been cleared for contact.

"Evander's back skating non-contact and he'll continue in that sweater until we get clearance from a doctor," said coach Paul Maurice.

Kane said his injury is coming along.

"They've been giving me some great treatment and my body's really responded well," said Kane, beads of sweat running down his face. "I've been lucky and I just want to continue that process and hopefully get back as quickly as possible."

Kane rejoined his teammates after a few days skating by himself. He's recovering at a quicker pace than the Jets had anticipated when he was injured in a knee-to-knee collision with linemate Mark Scheifele.

"I've been bugging the docs and trainers to let me get back on the ice with the team because it's no fun skating on your own," Kane said. "So it's nice to be back out with the guys and just pass the puck and move it around."

The Jets could certainly use him.

Winnipeg opens a four-game road trip visiting the New York Islanders on Tuesday night following a 2-1 overtime win Sunday night over the Colorado Avalanche. But the Jets (3-5-0) are last in the Western Conference.

Kane is travelling with the team but Maurice isn't optimistic Kane will return to the lineup during the road trip.

"I don't have an expectation for him to play this trip but then I don't think, if he continues on the path he's on now, that it will be much longer," said Maurice. "The one nice thing about Evander is he's in such incredible shape that when he gets cleared to go he's going to get his practice in and he's going to go."

Kane said with his injury coming early in the Jets' first game, in his mind his season has yet to start.

"If somebody said you were going to be hurt in the first two minutes of the game for a few weeks I wouldn't have believed them," he said. "It's just been tough because we haven't had things go the way we wanted them to. . . whenever I play next its going to be pretty well my start to the season."

The Jets hope Kane can regain the form he had in 2011 when he had a career-best 30 goals. Injuries also limited his playing time last season.

The Jets have called up forward Patrice Cormier from the St. John's IceCaps of the AHL as insurance.

Anthony Peluso is another injured forward whose status remains uncertain. While neither Toby Enstrom nor Zach Bogosian skated Monday, Maurice expects both defencemen to play.

Scheifele said getting an overtime win before heading on the road was important for the Jets.

"It's huge," he said. "We've been working hard the last few games and sometimes we haven't got the bounces so it was good to be on the other side of that."

On Friday night, Winnipeg outshot Tampa Bay 42-27 but dropped a 4-2 decision.

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