The Winnipeg Jets could be without two of their key weapons when they open the playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Nikolaj Ehlers continued to skate in a yellow non-contact jersey in Tuesday’s practice, while Pierre-Luc Dubois didn’t skate at all.
Dubois hasn’t practiced since leaving Friday’s regular season finale with an undisclosed injury.
No final decision has been made for either player, but both will accompany the team to Edmonton. Jets head coach Paul Maurice sounded optimistic, but he might just be keeping his cards close to his vest now that it’s the playoffs.
“Everybody is making progress,” Maurice said after Tuesday’s skate. “Get to tomorrow and we’ll make a bunch of game-time — not so much game-time, morning skate decisions, see where the guys are at. But they’re all real close.”
Ehlers hasn’t played since he suffered a suspected shoulder injury on April 24, missing their final nine games of the regular season.
The Jets will be the underdogs when they drop the puck on Game 1 with the Oilers on Wednesday. Edmonton won seven of their nine regular season meetings, including the last six in a row. But this is now the playoffs where it’s more tight-checking and goals are often harder to come by.
Maurice believes you can throw the regular season record right out the window come playoff time.
“We know we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them,” he said. “I don’t think the season series tells you a whole heck of a lot now.
“We’re a better team right now than we’ve probably been all year minus the injuries we deal with. But I think our style of game is right and now it’s going to get playoff tested. So these are all theories and you get into the playoffs and as they say everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. ”
“I think we got talent and heart and character,” forward Andrew Copp said. “And guys who play the right way up and down our lineup, I mean, discounting us out of the series is a little insulting.”
The Oilers will have Zack Kassian back in the lineup for Game 1. The 30-year-old hasn’t played since April 21 because of a lower-body injury, sitting out their final 11 games of the regular season.
They’ll drop the puck shortly after 8:00 PM on Wednesday. You can hear the game live on 680 CJOB with Paul Edmonds, Jamie Thomas, and Kelly Moore beginning with the pre-game show at 6:00 PM.