Jets could adjust the top line if they pick up Senators
© Reuters. NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets
While the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets don’t have much in common when it comes to their postseason opportunities, they share similar thoughts and concerns about another rival in the North Division.
The Vancouver Canucks are dealing with a major COVID-19 outbreak that has shut the team down since March 24 – requiring a quick change to the schedule that is bringing the Senators to Winnipeg for a Monday game – and the list of Affected continues to grow reports on Sunday.
Several Jets and Senators have personal relationships with members of the Canucks.
“They play with a man for a while and become good friends. They obviously care about their health and safety,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said of Vancouver defender Tyler Myers, his teammate for five seasons in Winnipeg and one of the Canucks the COVID-19 list.
The Jets were supposed to host the Canucks on Sunday and Tuesday, but those games have been postponed.
Winnipeg and Ottawa were originally scheduled to play Monday May 8, but the NHL announced on Friday that the game would be postponed for a month due to the postponements.
The schedule adjustments gave Winnipeg two days between games for the first time since March 7-8.
Jets coach Paul Maurice apparently used the extra time to think about his striker lines after Winnipeg scored a goal in each of the last two games, both defeats to first-placed Toronto Maple Leafs.
Maurice currently has his top three goalscorers, Kyle Connor, 17, Nikolaj Ehlers, 15 and Mark Scheifele, 15, together on the top line, but the coach suggested on Sunday that he has a tendency to break his most capable players .
“In a way, there can be times when there is too much skill on a line and too little weight,” said Maurice. “Why don’t you like Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers? They do some brilliant things and then you get into a game where they don’t play against a line that really allows it. It doesn’t.” Don’t really let this skillset come out and then you think it’s a bit easy. “
Maurice said he likes the way Blake Wheeler and Pierre-Luc Dubois grew together on the second row, but Wheeler would be the most likely candidate to move to a top-line role and likely swap with Ehlers.
“That could be very, very good again if I can get them out against the right people,” said Maurice.
The Jets will face an Ottawa team that feels safe after beating the Montreal Canadiens 6-3 on Saturday night and ruining Montreal’s four-point chance over the Jets and Edmonton Oilers, who are second in the north makes.
Ottawa lost 4-1 to Montreal two nights earlier.
“We had so much better legs than last night,” said Ottawa’s coach DJ Smith after Saturday’s win.
The Senators will be without defense attorney Erik Gudbranson, who has returned to Ottawa because his wife is due to give birth. Josh Brown moved to Gudbranson alongside Braydon Coburn during training Sunday.
Smith did not reveal who would start in goal against the Jets.
Anton Forsberg made 35 saves in his win against Montreal on Saturday. This was his second start since he was called on by the Senators for waivers last month. It was his first NHL win since March 7, 2020 and the second since 2018.
– Field level media