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Three Storylines Heading into Jets Showdown Against Oilers

Despite capturing a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 11, the Winnipeg Jets failed to replicate that same success against them on Sunday, as they allowed the game-winning goal with just eight seconds left in regulation – proving to be another heartbreaking loss.

Coming off this disappointing defeat, the Jets will be aiming to get back on track against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, who they defeated 6-4 back on Jan. 26. After spending nine of the last 10 games at Bell MTS Place, this team will now be forced to leave town and embark on a four-game road trip, which will conclude on Feb. 21.

Here are three storylines that could impact the Jets’ third game of the season against the Oilers:

1. Pierre-Luc Dubois Remains Out of Lineup 

Following the Jets’ 5-1 victory over the Senators, forward Pierre-Luc Dubois received some treatment for a lower-body injury but it wasn’t expected to keep sidelined at the time. Unfortunately, this issue forced the 22-year-old to depart practice early on Saturday and he also wasn’t able to recover in time before Sunday’s afternoon affair.

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To make matters worse, coach Paul Maurice has already ruled out Dubois for Monday night’s matchup against the Oilers, although it’s still possible he could be allowed to return on Wednesday. In the meantime, teammate Nate Thompson, who hasn’t played since Jan. 21, is expected to return to action during this contest and is slated to serve as the fourth-line center.

2. Jets Return to 12 Forwards and Six Defensemen 

After two relatively unsuccessful attempts, the experiment of playing with 11 forwards and seven defensemen is finally over, which should be a major relief for everyone involved. While rolling with an extra blueliner can sometimes be effective, that certainly wasn’t the case for this team as they struggled to create a rhythm on the backend over the last two games.

Considering defenseman Tucker Poolman now has a couple of games under his belt since returning from the COVID-19 list, it appears he’s ready to return to his regular role alongside teammate Josh Morrissey, which has forced rookie Logan Stanley out of the lineup. As for the forward group, the return of Thompson provides Winnipeg with four reliable centers even with Dubois sidelined.

3. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler Reunited 

Despite starting the regular season together, forwards Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler were separated after just eight games, as the Jets’ captain was demoted to the second line due to his poor defensive showing and offensive struggles during even strengthen situations. But thanks to his improved performance in the defensive zone, the 34-year-old returned to the top line midway through Sunday’s matchup, however, he failed to generate a much-needed offensive spark before the final horn sounded.

While this reunion didn’t result in a strong offensive showing, coach Paul Maurice has decided to keep Scheifele and Wheeler together, at least for now, and has also inserted winger Andrew Copp into this newly formed top line. As for teammate Kyle Connor, who was also bumped up to the first line on Sunday, he’ll be paired with forwards Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers on the second line, although don’t be surprised if this top-six group is reshuffled once again during this game against the Oilers.

Lineups: 

Winnipeg Jets:

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LW C RW
Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 76.8#19 C

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Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

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Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 79.5#5 LW

Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 C

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 71.1#96 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 69.2#149 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.5#123 RW

Kristian Vesalainen
KRISTIAN VESALAINEN
Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 69.4#145 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 LD

Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN

Rating: 71.6#74 RD

Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

Nathan Beaulieu
NATHAN BEAULIEU

Rating: 72.1#72 LD

Dylan DeMelo
DYLAN DEMELO

Rating: 71.8#69 RD

Edmonton Oilers: 

LW C RW
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS

Rating: 77.4#11 LW

Connor McDavid
CONNOR MCDAVID

Rating: 82.7#5 C

Jesse Puljujarvi
JESSE PULJUJARVI
Dominik Kahun
DOMINIK KAHUN

Rating: 72.5#69 LW

Leon Draisaitl
LEON DRAISAITL

Rating: 86.1#1 C

Kailer Yamamoto
KAILER YAMAMOTO

Rating: 73.5#47 RW

Devin Shore
DEVIN SHORE

Rating: 69.6#141 LW

Kyle Turris
KYLE TURRIS

Rating: 71.6#99 C

Alex Chiasson
ALEX CHIASSON

Rating: 72.2#76 RW

Tyler Ennis
TYLER ENNIS

Rating: 71.4#90 LW

Jujhar Khaira
JUJHAR KHAIRA

Rating: 69.1#152 C

Josh Archibald
JOSH ARCHIBALD

Rating: 71.2#95 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Darnell Nurse
DARNELL NURSE

Rating: 74.1#30 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 75.3#21 RD

William Lagesson
WILLIAM LAGESSON
Adam Larsson
ADAM LARSSON

Rating: 71.1#88 RD

Slater Koekkoek
SLATER KOEKKOEK

Rating: 71.3#78 LD

Evan Bouchard
EVAN BOUCHARD

Where to watch/listen:

The puck will drop at 8 pm CT and will be available on TSN 3 along with 680 CJOB.