|Jets get good news on Laine ahead of Duck hunt|
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets have not won anything of consequence yet but that did not stop their fans from cheering like crazy Thursday.
That's when coach Paul Maurice's gave the highly anticipated injury update on sniper Patrik Laine and had nothing but good news. The 19-year-old has a bruise on his left foot -- nothing is broken -- after blocking a slap shot from Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez in the second period of the Jets' 2-1 overtime victory over the Kings on Tuesday.
"When he gets his foot in the (skate) boot and feels comfortable, he'll be back playing," Maurice told his media conference after practice Thursday.
Laine, second in league goal scoring with 43 goals, is expected to miss Friday's game against the Anaheim Ducks and Sunday's contest against the Nashville Predators and possibly more. The window for his return has been estimated at 4-to-14 days.
The swelling around Laine's ankle has gone down but Maurice said the team wasn't going to rush their young superstar back into the lineup.
"We'll give it a few days," he said. "We want him to be able to skate, we want him to be able to play. And in the situation that we're in, we don't want him hobbling around the ice."
"We want him to be able to move pretty comfortably, so we'll take as much time as we need until we get to that point. I just can't give you the day."
When asked if he had any shot-blocking advice for his team's hottest scorer, Maurice said "run to the fire is the rule. It hurts a whole heck of a lot more if you're 30 feet off of it."
Taking Laine's spot on the right side of center Paul Stastny and left winger Nik Ehlers on the No. 2 line is 11-year veteran center Bryan Little, who said he's comfortable with the change. He played wing during his second and third NHL seasons, and for a bit this earlier this month season.
The Jets are firmly ensconced in second place in the Central Division with 98 points.
The Ducks come to town riding a four-game winning streak, including a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, highlighted by goalie John Gibson's fourth shutout of the season and 16th of his career. The win improves his record to 12-3-1 in his last 16 starts.
"Your goalie is paid to stop the puck. He shouldn't let any in," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said in his post-game press conference. "That's the theory coaches always go to, but it's unrealistic to look at it that way. We know how strong Gibson's been."
The Ducks are in a dogfight for the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division or a wild-card spot and will be without the services of defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who has undergone surgery to remove scar tissue from one of his hands and will be out 2-to-5 weeks.