Toby Enstrom’s return to the Winnipeg Jets’ lineup could come as early as Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
His timing couldn’t be better for a club that is coming off back-to-back losses to the Washington Capitals by a combined score of 10-1 and which could use a boost to its struggling power-play.
While reeling off updates on the team’s injured list, Jets coach Claude Noel was asked about Enstrom, who has missed 19 games with a suspected shoulder injury.
"Toby… it looks like he might be able to turn that corner," said Noel with a grin and an eyebrow raise. "We’ll see if we can get him in there."
The rest of the injury update goes like this: Ron Hainsey (hand) will be a game-time decision, as will Mark Stuart. James Wright (upper body) is day to day, Zach Bogosian will be good to go while Anthony Peluso and Jim Slater (both with broken hands) are week to week.
The Jets, despite their recent nosedive, remain atop the NHL’s Southeast Division with a 16-14-2 mark. Sunday’s game against the Lightning (7 p.m.; TSNJets/TSN 1290) will wrap up a four-game homestand in which the Jets have gone 1-2.
They’ll then head to Raleigh, N.C. for a critical matchup with the Hurricanes on Tuesday, then to Pittsburgh for a date with the Penguins on Thursday before the Canes are here next Saturday.
"The best thing we can do is not get negative and not start pointing fingers and trying to find problems," said Bryan Little. "The best thing to do is put it behind us and try and focus on winning tomorrow. It affects you as much as you want it to. Obviously it’s frustrating losing two games where we had a chance to get some ground and get four points, but there’s nothing we can do now. There’s no sense moping around about it."
That was the mood from the Jets dressing room today as they attempted to flush the Capital debacle and focus on where they are - still first in the division – and what they need to do to get things right again.
"We’re trying to keep balance with things," said Noel. "We’re trying to keep an even keel with things. We know there are 16 games left and we’re sitting here in March. When I looked in January at the situation we’re in, getting through March was a big task — that’s what I looked at when I looked at who we were playing and the magnitude of the games and the schedule. So, we’re sitting here in a decent position with 16 games to go and very much in control of our own destiny. We’ve got to produce and we all know that. Our focus is singular and just focusing on he day, tomorrow’s the game and let’s try to get it done with what we have."