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Redmond skating with Jets, no timetable on return

by Chris Ryndak /

BUFFALO -- Zach Redmond skated with the Winnipeg Jets during their morning skate at First Niagara Center on Monday after the team recalled the rookie defenseman from a conditioning stint with St. John's of the American Hockey League.

Redmond has been out since Feb. 21 when an artery and vein in his right leg were cut by a skate during practice. Surgery was required to repair the injury.

Jets coach Claude Noel said there is no timetable for Redmond's return to the lineup, as he wants to work to build more strength in that leg.

"It's unbelievable that in a matter of six weeks, he's back. It's really hard to fathom," Noel said. "When he went down, we didn't really know what would take place. We were hopeful, but not like this."

The Jets are well aware that they will likely have to win their final three games to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Winnipeg is back on the road after going 5-0-1 during a six-game homestand. They will look to collect another two points Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

"We knew we had to have a great sense of urgency during that homestand to put ourselves in a position to be able to make the playoffs," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said after the team's morning skate. "We still need a little bit of help, but we feel that we've done that. There are still lots of work to be done and three games left. We're going to have to play our best hockey to give ourselves a chance."

Winnipeg sits in ninth place with three games remaining. They are three points behind the New York Rangers for eighth place and three back of the Washington Capitals for the Southeast Division lead and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers and Capitals each have three games left as well.

One of the victories on that homestand was a 4-1 win over the Sabres on April 9. The Sabres have lost their last five games against the Jets, but will look to play the role of spoiler on Monday.

"We know Winnipeg's going to come with everything, so it's going to be a tough game and we're all professionals in here. We're going to play as hard as we can," Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said.

The Ottawa Senators can clinch a playoff berth Monday if they defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins at home and the Jets lose in regulation.

Zach Bogosian is out with a head injury, so defenseman Derek Meech said he would be paired with Dustin Byfuglien against Buffalo. Meech has not dressed in eight games.

Ondrej Pavelec will make his 11th straight start for Winnipeg.

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for the Sabres. He replaced Ryan Miller in the second period of Buffalo's 8-3 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday. Miller allowed four goals on 14 shots in front of an audibly displeased home crowd. The Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention with the defeat.

Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said that Miller could possibly play in one or both of Buffalo's final two games. They play the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road Tuesday and host the New York Islanders on Friday.

"It is realistic," Rolston said of Miller's chances of starting at home again.

With Patrick Kaleta out with a hand injury, Mikhail Grigorenko will return to the Sabres' lineup. Grigorenko has been a healthy scratch for the last two games after being recalled from the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 18-year-old rookie center started the NHL season in Buffalo and had one goal and four assists in 22 games. He averaged 9:44 per game while mostly playing on the fourth line. He was sent back to the Remparts on March 15.

Rolston said the plan Monday is to not limit Grigorenko's ice time, but he did not offer any insight as to whom Grigorenko would be playing with.

"He's going to play, but he's also going to have to make sure he plays well," Rolston said. "We're not in a situation where we're giving him stuff."

Ladd was named the NHL's first star of the week after posting eight points and six assists in his past three games. He's currently on a seven-game point streak, during which he's registered 14 points. Ladd leads the Jets with 18 goals and 28 assists in 45 games this season.

He credited his linemates, center Bryan Little and right wing Blake Wheeler, for his recent success.

"It's a nice honor. Our whole line has played some great hockey lately, so I probably owe a little bit to both those guys, I'm sure. We could probably share it, the way we've played lately as a group," Ladd said.

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