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Maurice to make Jets coaching debut against Coyotes

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Phoenix Coyotes will become the latest team to see a new-look version of the Winnipeg Jets when they play Monday at MTS Centre.

The Jets fired coach Claude Noel on Sunday and replaced him with Paul Maurice. Maurice arrived in Winnipeg on Sunday evening and met with his new players briefly Monday before the team's morning skate.

Before Noel departed he shuffled the Jets' lines and defensive pairings several times. The changes culminated with the move of defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to the team's top line this past Saturday in Noel's final game behind the Jets' bench, a 6-3 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Maurice shuffled the lines again Monday. With Evander Kane (hand) expected to miss his second straight game, Michael Frolik will join captain Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little on the first line. Byfuglien will skate with Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi while leading goal-scorer Blake Wheeler will play alongside Mark Scheifele and Chris Thorburn. Forward Eric Tangradi (flu) missed the morning skate and is not expected to play.

Asked what he expects from his new team against Phoenix, Maurice admitted that he does not know what to expect.

"I'm going to be completely honest with you," he said. "Your guess is as good as mine."

Maurice will not change much else for the Jets systems-wise against Phoenix due to the quick turnaround. But he put the Jets through a brisk morning skate as the players auditioned for the first time in front of their new coach.

"I think everyone was kind of on edge," Little said. "I think it's the first time I've ever seen guys nervous in the [morning] skate."

Fresh off a 5-3 home loss against the Anaheim Ducks this past Saturday, the Coyotes arrived in Winnipeg with three wins in their past 10 games and one victory during their just-completed five-game homestand.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said he expected to see an energetic opponent in the Jets.

"It does [create] a boost in energy," Tippett said of the coaching change. "Everybody is trying to show what they can do for the new [coach]. We expect them to be very competitive and juiced up. But on the other side we're concentrating on what we have to do and making sure everything is in order."

The Coyotes assigned defenseman Connor Murphy on Sunday to the Portland Pirates, their American Hockey League affiliate and recalled right wing Jordan Szwarz.

Tippett will start Mike Smith in net while Maurice will counter with Ondrej Pavelec.

Here are the probable lineups for the Coyotes and Jets:


Shane Doan - Mike Ribeiro - Mikkel Boedker

Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Rob Klinkhammer - Antoine Vermette - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - David Schlemko

Rostislav Klesla - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: David Rundblad, Jordan Szwarz, Tim Kennedy

Injured: Zbynek Michalek (hip)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Chris Thorburn - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Devin Setoguchi - Olli Jokinen - Dustin Byfuglien

Eric O'Dell - James Wright - Chris Thorburn

Zach Bogosian - Tobias Enstrom

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam PardyKeaton Ellerby

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Scratched: Anthony Peluso, Zach Redmond, Eric Tangradi

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Matt Halischuk (forearm), Evander Kane (hand), Paul Postma (blood clot), Jim Slater (sports hernia)

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