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Preview: Jets at Avalanche

Mikko Rantanen to make season debut with Colorado, goaltender Michael Hutchinson will start for Winnipeg

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

JETS (3-4-0) at AVALANCHE (3-2-0)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3, NHL.TV


Jets team scope

The Winnipeg Jets didn't hold a morning skate after ending a two-game losing streak Thursday with a 4-1 home win against the Dallas Stars. This is Winnipeg's fourth game in six days. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves against Dallas, but coach Paul Maurice told the Jets website that Michael Hutchinson will start against Colorado. "I'm not afraid of playing a guy back-to-back, but we've never seemed to have back-to-back [games] jammed in with games every second night," said Maurice, who needs one win for his 100th as Jets coach. "This is a different environment that we're in. We're going to keep both [goalies] fresh." Hutchinson has a 2-2-0 career record against Colorado with a 2.77 goals-against average and .898 save percentage. Rookie Patrik Laine scored two goals Thursday, his second multiple-goal game and third multiple-point game of the season. Four of his six goals have come on power plays. The Jets have scored at least one power-play goal in three of their past four games, going 4-for-18 in that stretch.


Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche are playing their first game since Saturday, a 5-2 road loss to the Florida Panthers, and their first at home since a 6-5 season-opening win against Dallas on Oct. 15. Rookie right wing Mikko Rantanen, Colorado's first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2015 NHL Draft, will play his first game of the season with the Avalanche after starting with San Antonio of the American Hockey League, where he had two assists in four games. "I'm excited, there are some butterflies, but that's how it should be," said Rantanen, who missed all six preseason games while recovering from an ankle injury. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound forward will play on a line with left wing Mikhail Grigorenko and center Nathan MacKinnon. Rantanen played in nine games for Colorado last season without a point. He was co-winner of the AHL Rookie of the Year after getting 24 goals and 60 points in 52 games with San Antonio. Rantanen's presence prompted coach Jared Bednar to move Matt Duchene from right wing to his natural center position on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Jarome Iginla. "Even when I'm playing wing, I feel like kind of a hybrid, but I'm excited to take a lot of faceoffs," Duchene said. Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start his fourth consecutive game. He has a 10-7-2 record against the Jets with a 2.76 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.


Jets projected lineup

Patrik Laine -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Mathieu Perreault - Kyle Connor

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Brandon Tanev -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Chris Thorburn

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Tobias Enstrom -- Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart -- Ben Chiarot

Michael Hutchinson

Connor Hellebuyck

Scratched: Marko Dano, Paul Postma

Injured: Bryan Little (lower body), Drew Stafford (upper body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Rene Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Andreas Martinsen -- John Mitchell -- Joe Colborne

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Eric Gelinas -- Patrick Wiercioch

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Gabriel Bourque, Cody McLeod

Injured: Fedor Tyutin (groin)


Status report

The Jets placed Little on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 13, and recalled Dano from Manitoba of the American Hockey League. Dano had two assists in six games with the Moose ... Rene Bourque will return after missing two games because of a groin injury ... Mitchell will make his season debut after recovering from a hip injury.


Who's hot

Laine has two goals and one assist in his past two games, and six goals and two assists in seven games. Armia has one goal and one assist in his past two games, and Scheifele has a goal and an assist in that span ... Duchene has three goals and two assists in Colorado's past two games. Wiercioch has three assists in that span.

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