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Round 2

Laine misses Jets practice with 'malaise' ahead of Game 1 vs. Predators

Forward expected to play second-round opener

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Patrik Laine did not practice with the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday because of what coach Paul Maurice called a malaise, but the forward is expected to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Nashville Predators on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN360, TVAS).


[RELATED: Five key matchups for Predators vs. Jets in second round | Jets wary of two-way game of Predators defensemen]


The Jets held a 30-minute practice at Bell MTS Place on Friday. Laine's absence was the first full practice he's missed this season. 

"Patti didn't miss out on anything... maybe 25 minutes," Maurice said. "He'll be fine. He's in the same boat as everybody else, but I have an expectation that he'll be there."

Laine practiced Sunday and Tuesday but left early. 

"I don't have any concerns," Maurice said Tuesday about Laine's early departures. "He's been hanging around with (forward Nikolaj Ehlers) too much, caught the malaise. It's a light malaise, though, it's a low fat."

Maurice called Ehlers' ailment, which caused him to miss Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild, as malaise. Ehlers said Wednesday that Laine just wasn't feeling right but admitted he didn't know much. 

Forward Bryan Little moved to the Jets' top power-play unit in Laine's absence. 

"We've dealt with these things all year, losing key guys, so we're prepared either way," Little said. 

Laine scored 20 goals and 31 points on the power play during the regular season and said he is not worried if the Jets are without Laine on the unit. 

"It looks a bit different," Little said. "He's one of the best goal-scorers in the league. But we have guys that can step in there. [Forward Mark Scheifele] has got a great shot himself. We've got guys that can step in pretty seamlessly there. I'll be ready either way."

Ehlers, who plays on a line with Laine and center Paul Stastny, said Laine would be missed if he can't play but echoed Little's comments on Winnipeg's depth. 

"He's a great player," Ehlers said. "He means a lot to the team. He's a special part of this team, but like I've said, we've got young guys stepping up. We've got some depth on this team that's pretty exciting. When guys go down, others step up, and that's why we're here right now."


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Round 1

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Capitals vs. Blue Jackets

Round 2

Capitals vs. Penguins

Predators vs. Jets

Golden Knights vs. Sharks

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