The Stanley Cup playoffs began Saturday, but it has taken a few days for the North Division to get going. The Oilers and Jets will finally kick off their series Wednesday. But despite the gap from the end of their regular season to now, the Jets will be without two big pieces: Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers.
Ehlers has been out since suffering an upper-body injury April 24 against the Maple Leafs. It was a huge blow to the lineup when he went down; the forward was having a stellar season with 46 points (21 goals, 25 assists) in 45 games.
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Dubois did not finish the Jets’ regular season finale on May 14. He played just over 10 minutes and did not see the ice for the final 14. Acquired in a January deal with the Blue Jackets, the 22-year-old centerman notched eight goals and 20 points in 41 games.
Head coach Paul Maurice would not go into detail regarding the injuries or how long the players will be out of the lineup, but both made the trip to Edmonton and participated in non-contact jerseys at the morning skate Wednesday.
Expecting #NHLJets lineup for G1 to be:
Hellebuyck starting @TSN_Edge #NHL #TSN
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) May 19, 2021
While there was no confirmation of the Jets’ lineup from Maurice, it is expected that Dominic Toninato will slot in. Drafted in 2012 by Toronto, Toninato played two games this season, collecting one assist. He has three playoff games under his belt, all with the Panthers in 2020.
Also, Andrew Copp, who did play in the Jets’ last game because of an undisclosed injury, is slated to return for Game 1.
The Jets were already facing an uphill battle in going toe-to-toe with the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the best-of-seven series. They struggled in the regular-season series, losing seven of nine and being outscored 34-22. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck needs to step up his game; he had an .877 save percentage vs. the Oilers in 2021.