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Preview: Jets at Wild

Forward Drew Stafford returns for Winnipeg; defenseman Marco Scandella back for Minnesota

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

JETS (9-10-2) at WILD (9-7-2)

7 p.m. ET; FS-N, SN360, SNP, NHL.TV


Jets team scope

Winnipeg Jets forward Drew Stafford will play after missing 15 games with an upper-body injury. "It's been a while so I'm happy to be finally coming back and hopefully I can help this team win some games, get back on the winning track," Stafford said. Coach Paul Maurice said the key to Stafford's return will be simplicity. "He's been out for a long time and we haven't been able to do a whole lot with him, so get it on and off his stick as quick as we can when he's on his routes and get his legs under him," Maurice said. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will make his 13th start. He is 7-6-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Forward Mark Scheifele has one goal and three points in his past five games after scoring 12 points in his previous seven. "I think it's been going fine," Scheifele said. "I just gotta continue to work on all aspects of my game, play good D and that will create good offense." 


Wild team scope

Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella returns after missing 10 games with a high-ankle sprain. "He's a good player," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He can skate, he's big, he moves pucks, so that's what he brings [to the team]." Goalie Devan Dubnyk will start his 14th game. He is 7-6-1 with a 1.59 GAA (third in the NHL) and a .949 save percentage. The Wild have allowed an NHL-low 35 goals but are struggling offensively with nine goals in their past six games. "A lot of times what happens is, teams that aren't scoring a lot come out of character and try to cheat and get goals," Boudreau said. "We're going to end up being successful by doing what we do. If we keep pucks out of the net eventually we'll start to score some goals."

Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler  

Brandon Tanev -- Nic Petan - Drew Stafford

Andrew Copp -- Adam Lowry -- Patrik Laine

Marko Dano -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Chris Thorburn  

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom -- Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart -- Ben Chiarot  

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Paul Postma, Chase De Leo

Injured: Bryan Little (lower body), Shawn Matthias (lower body) Joel Armia (lower body), Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Kyle Connor (upper body)


Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund -- Mikko Koivu -- Tyler Graovac

Nino Niederreiter -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker -- Zack Mitchell -- Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Christian Folin

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Mike Reilly, Nate Prosser  

Injured: Zac Dalpe (knee) 


Status report

Connor is nearing a return. Maurice said he is day to day but expects him to be the first one back from injury. Little is skating daily with Winnipeg, and Maurice hopes he'll return within one week. 


Who's hot

Ehlers has two goals and 14 points in his past 10 games. … Staal and Suter each have 13 points in 18 games.

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