The Winnipeg Jets open up a six-game homestand, but will be without one of their best players as defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will sit out Sunday due to an upper-body injury he sustained in practice Saturday, according to the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.
He is listed as day-to-day, according to head coach Paul Maurice. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound blueliner will be a major loss as the team hosts the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes, who have been impressive in the first week and a half of the season. The team will turn to Dmitry Kulikov to make his season debut in place of Byfuglien and will likely be paired with Ben Chiarot on the bottom pairing.
“It’s been a lot of hard work over the summer and I knew at some point I was going to get in the lineup,” said Kulikov, who dealt with off-season back surgery. “It’s exciting for me. I just want to get out there and play some games.”
- Much praise has been given towards the recent play of Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, which has been impressive in the last few games, according to Pioneer Press’ Dane Mizutani. That’s key after the veteran defenseman is returning from a broken right ankle late last season. His numbers have improved in the four games he’s played so far this season as his ATOI has increased in each game that he’s played so far as he played 28:21 in Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He also has posted a goal and three assists in his last two games.
- Nathan MacKinnon has started his season off on a positive note as he has already tallied six goals in his first five games, yet the Colorado Avalanche center indicates that he can do even better. “I think I can dominate more than I am,” said MacKinnon, the reigning Hart Trophy runner-up. MacKinnon currently is tied for third place in goal scoring behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Boston’s David Pastrnak.
- Sarah McLellan of the StarTribune reports the injured center Joel Eriksson Ek was skating this morning. He was reportedly expected to miss a week after suffering a lower-body injury. There is no update on his status, however, and the team is still considering recalling a player from the Iowa Wild of the AHL with a back-to-back games approaching. While he hasn’t posted any points yet in three games, many have been impressed by the play of the 21-year-old center.