Coming off an action-packed 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets will conclude their four-game homestand by welcoming the Carolina Hurricanes to Canada Life Centre for a Tuesday night affair.
As has been the case with all American franchises, it’s been nearly two years since the Jets and Hurricanes faced off against each other, with their last meeting taking place back on Jan. 21, 2020. Since then, well, not much has changed for Carolina. They remain a legitimate threat in the Metropolitan Division and are expected to make a fourth straight playoff push this season.
So far, they’re doing a fairly good job in that department, as their organization currently sits third in the division with a 16-6-1 record and 33 points. Luckily, this team has encountered a bit of a tough slide as of late, losing five of its last seven games and being limited to just 2.71 goals per game during this difficult span.
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For a preview of this matchup, let’s dive into three interesting storylines that could affect this meeting between Winnipeg and Carolina.

Neal Pionk Suspended, Placed in Concussion Protocol 

In the aftermath of Sunday’s victory against Toronto, defenceman @Neal Pionk received a two-game suspension for kneeing @Rasmus Sandin, unfortunately, Winnipeg’s blueliner will be sidelined for even longer after he was hit in the head by @Jason Spezza during that same game.
Just two days later, the team announced Pionk had entered the league’s concussion protocol and won’t travel on the upcoming west coast road trip, meaning he’ll be unavailable through Dec. 10. At the earliest, the 26-year-old could potentially make his return when the Jets host the Buffalo Sabers on Dec. 14. But that remains to be seen.
Until then, teammate @Nathan Beaulieu is expected to serve as Pionk’s injury replacement and will be in the line-up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. Sliding in on the bottom defensive pairing, the 29-year-old will be paired with @Dylan DeMelo at even-strength and will also likely assume a penalty-killing role once again.
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Despite being left-handed, @Logan Stanley is slated to play on his off side – something he’s never done before, at any level – alongside @Brenden Dillon on the club’s second defensive pairing. While it would’ve made sense to promote DeMelo to the top four, evidently, this is the move that coach Paul Maurice and the rest of his staff agreed on.
So we’ll see how these new pairings perform against Carolina.

A Battle Between the Svechnikov Brothers 

It’ll be a family affair for the Svechnikov household Tuesday night, as brothers Evgeny and Andrei will face-off against each other for the first time this season.
Granted, this showdown isn’t the first of its kind as these two skaters saw one another five separate times last season alone. That being said, it’ll be the first – and possibly only – occasion they’ll have played against each other on Canadian soil.
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Considering both of their parents, who’ve been staying at @Evgeny Svechnikov’s place during their visit from Russia, will be in attendance at Canada Life Centre, there’s no question it should be a very special night regardless of which team’s victorious. But obviously, it’d be better for everyone involved if Winnipeg comes away with the win.
Though Andrei is positioned in the Hurricanes’ top six, with Evgeny slotted in Winnipeg’s bottom six, let’s hope they’ll manage to somehow find a way to share the ice together at least once throughout this contest.

Reinforcement on the Way?

With Pionk likely to be sidelined past his suspension, the Jets placed veteran @Riley Nash on waivers Monday in an attempt to clear a roster spot. In turn, Nash has now been claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending his brief tenure in Winnipeg.
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As a result of this transaction, this team now features just 21 skaters – 12 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders. Given that they’re about to embark on a back-to-back series in the Pacific Northwest later in this week, it’d probably be wise to bring an extra player, whether that be a forward or defenceman, during this upcoming road trip.
Before Nash was claimed on waivers, the Jets didn’t possess enough long-term injured reserve space to promote another skater from the American Hockey League. But with the 32-year-old headed to the Lightning, this organization now features just over $1 million in LTIR relief pool, according to PuckPedia.com, providing them with an opportunity to make a call-up.
Aside from prospect @Dylan Samberg, who features a $925,000 cap hit and a $250,000 player bonus, Winnipeg can recall any of its players from the Manitoba Moose. Since they’re currently operating with just six blueliners, chances are they’ll likely promote a defenceman that’s exempt from waivers.
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Among the skaters who fit that description, obviously, @Ville Heinola immediately jumps to mind as a potential option. On the other hand, with just one right-handed defenceman (DeMelo) on the roster, it might be more beneficial to call upon someone like @Johnathan Kovacevic. Perhaps we’ll find out before puck drop.

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