SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Let’s get this out of the way immediately, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian is out week-to-week with a groin injury.
Jets head coach Claude Noel provided the update following the morning skate at Xcel Energy Center.
Noel said it was a moderate strain and wasn’t ready to predict how much time Bogosian might actually miss.
Although groin injuries can be a nuisance if you come back too soon, the news was better than some — including myself — expected, as there was some speculation Bogosian may have suffered a knee injury.
Regardless, Bogosian’s absence leaves a large void on the back end and creates an opportunity for several others to step in.
“He brings a fair amount of things to our team,” said Noel. “He plays on special teams, he’s a veteran guy, although still being young. He skates well, he gets to loose pucks, he has weight. It’s fairly heavy minutes that you have to fill and (they) will be shared by several different people. We’ll see how it goes.”
Zach Redmond plays his first NHL game in nearly nine months tonight and while he’ll start on the third pair with Adam Pardy, don’t be surprised to see him get some 2nd power play time and maybe even a little time on the penalty kill.
For now, Keaton Ellerby figures to pick up a chunk of Bogosian’s ice time, much like he did Friday when he skated nearly 20 minutes.
No changes up front for the Jets as Anthony Peluso sits as a healthy scratch for a fifth consecutive game.
Ample time has been spent the past few days talking about the fact the Jets have surrendered five power play goals against during the past three games, dropping their penalty kill to 17th overall at 81.9%.
Here’s what Jets winger Evander Kane had to say about the recent struggles for the Jets’ PK:
“We’ve just got to get back to doing the things we were doing when we were having success,” said Kane. “The good PKs, they pressure all over the ice, whether it’s in your own zone or on their breakout. We haven’t been stepping up and pressuring in the neutral zone as much so teams have been able to gain our zone a little bit easier. When you give teams a chance to set up, bad things can happen. We have to try to limit those opportunities.”
Kane also talked about what it meant to score two power play goals in a game for the first time this season.
“(Assistant coach) Pascal (Vincent) slept pretty well that night. I think he was relieved just as much as we were,” said Kane. “It was good to get the power play going. Obviously, it was a reason we were able to stay in the game and eventually win.”
This is the second meeting of the season between the two Central Division rivals — in the first, the Wild played a suffocating game, limiting the Jets to only 15 shots in a 2-1 victory that saw Matt Cooke supply the game-winner.
During the past day-and-a-half, there have been plenty of folks rocking Jets’ gear around the Twin Cities, so the atmosphere should be excellent once again.
“It’s going to be a fun game, it’s going to be an emotional game, there’s no question. Their crowd is going to be here and they’re always lively. Our crowd is always excited in these games as well,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. “I’m just focused on the fact they’ve won four straight and are feeling good about their game. Every game is a new game.”
The Wild are rolling along and have seemed to flourish as Zach Parise and Jason Pominville were split up. It’s not like the pair were struggling together but having them play apart has balanced the offensive attack.
“Their team has been going good, for a little bit longer than ours,” said Noel, referencing the Wild’s 9-1-2 stretch. “They’ve won six straight at home. The last time here, we didn’t play very well at all. They pretty much schooled us, at least in my coaching manual.
“For us, we’re going to have to work for 60 minutes. They’re a team that works, methodical and they have some good players and they’ve got them sprinkled throughout the lineup. They check and defend well. We’re going to have to be on top of our game.”
The Jets are back in action Monday night at MTS Centre and backup Al Montoya is expected to get the call in goal against the Calgary Flames.
Don’t forget to join the live blog at 6:30 at www.winnipegsun.com, where you can already see VIDEO reaction from the Jets from Saturday and the morning skate on Sunday.
Finally, here’s how I expect both teams to start on Sunday:
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Olli Jokinen-Devin Setoguchi
Matt Halischuk-Mark Scheifele-Michael Frolik
Eric Tangradi-James Wright-Chris Thorburn
Grant Clitsome-Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom-Keaton Ellerby
Adam Pardy-Zach Redmond
Ondrej Pavelec (Al Monotya)
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville
Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Justin Fontaine
Torrey Mitchell-Zenon Konopka-Dany Heatley
Ryan Suter-Jonnas Brodin
Clayton Stoner-Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon
Josh Harding (Johan Gustafsson)