Jets look for answers against Red Wings

- November 4th, 2013

The Winnipeg Jets will close out a brief two-game homestand against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night in what will be the Red Wings’ first visit since that fateful playoff game in 1996 for Jets version 1.0.

After losing three consecutive games and six of seven, the Jets aren’t feeling sentimental. They’re taking a sense of urgency into this game against a Red Wings team that is 3-0 on a Western swing through Edmonton (5-0), Calgary (4-3) and Vancouver (2-1).

“We’ve got to keep the game simple and stick with our game plan,” said Jets centre Olli Jokinen. “It’s not like teams are going to give us a win. We have to go out there and try to earn the two points and find a way to play a lot harder than we’ve been playing. As a player, you have to push yourself to be better and learn from your mistakes.

“There’s no limits on how hard you can work. You can always work harder and that’s the one thing we can do a lot better. At the same time, as a player you have to step up and take charge. You can’t wait for other guys to carry the load or have the same guys carrying the team (every game). It’s a good chance for all of us to step up and take charge.”

Jets head coach Claude is turning to Al Montoya this evening and he explained that it was simply a chance to get his backup into a bit of a rhythm after coming on in relief in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

As for the lineup, Noel surprised a few folks when he announced winger Evander Kane was questionable (read: doubtful) for the game with a lower-body injury after saying Sunday that it was simply maintenance that kept him off the ice.

UPDATE: Evander Kane didn’t take the warm-up and has been scratched

On defence, Keaton Ellerby is set to make his Jets’ debut and will be playing with Adam Pardy and not Zach Redmond, who was recalled on Sunday.

Ellerby is excited to get back into game action after being a healthy scratch in each of the Los Angeles Kings’ games this season.

Redmond, meanwhile, is excited to be back after dealing with a minor knee injury the past few weeks and determined to stick this time around.

He discussed a variety of subjects that I’ll deal with in the sidebar that will run with my game coverage in Tuesday’s paper and on www.winnipegsun.com.

The Red Wings roster features St. Andrews product Darren Helm and former Brandon Wheat Kings star Jordin Tootoo, who was born in Churchill and calls Nunavut home.

Helm will play just his second game of the season (his first came Saturday against the Oilers and he scored a goal) and is excited for his first NHL game in his home province (Helm has played at MTS Centre as a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins back in the AHL days).

Helm (who had dealt with back and groin issues for much of the past two seasons) didn’t know for sure how many tickets he would require, but made a joke, saying “not as many as Toews. I’m a little shy of that” – referring to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and the throng of fans who attended the game on Saturday.

“There were some mental challenges and a couple days of doubt, that I thought maybe I would not make it back, but that was followed by a lot of good days and a lot of support. It was nice to have people around me that helped get me through that challenge,” said Helm. “I’m really looking forward to my first NHL game (in Winnipeg). I’ve heard a lot about the crowd, the excitement in the arena. So get out there and kind of feed off that. It should be a fun game.”

Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg talked about what it means to have Helm — the speedster — back in the lineup.

“He’s a big part of our team, unfortunately he’s been injured for almost two years here,” said Zetterberg. “It’s fun to see him back and last game, to see him get the goal right away. He skates well and plays a lot on P.K. He’s a nice piece to have back.”

Tootoo, meanwhile, draws in on the fourth line for just the eighth time in 16 games and he’ll have plenty of support in the stands as well.

It’s been challenging for Tootoo since leaving the Nashville Predators to sign a two-year deal as a free agent with the Red Wings, but he’s keeping things in perspective.

“I’m definitely excited. I have a lot of family that came down from Nunavut and playing in Manitoba for a lot of my career, there’s a lot of roots here,” said Tootoo. “I’ve been in and out of the lineup, but I’m a veteran guy. I’ve been through this before and it’s just about making the best of every opportunity you’re given. I know how to play the game. It’s about maintaining composure and mentally, being strong.

“We’re born to compete and every time you’re not in the lineup it kind of burns, but it creates more fire for you.”

Here’s how we expect both teams to start (though it’s important to note that the Jets lines are basically guesswork since they didn’t do any line rushes this morning and Kane is questionable – I’ll update after the warm-up):

Jets

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Devin Setoguchi
Eric Tangradi-Olli Jokinen-Blake Wheeler
Michael Frolik-Mark Scheifele-Matt Halischuk
Chris Thorburn-James Wright-Anthony Peluso

Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Keaton Ellerby-Adam Pardy

Al Montoya (Ondrej Pavelec)

Red Wings

Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Tood Bertuzzi
Danny Cleary-Stephen Weiss-Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar-Joakim-Andersson-Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Jordin Tootoo

Niklas Kronwall-Dan DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey-Adam Almqvist
Jakub Kindl-Brian Lashoff

Jimmy Howard (Petr Mrazek)

Categories: Hockey

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