COLUMBUS, Ohio — Evander Kane is in and Zach Bogosian is finally back with the Winnipeg Jets, who continue their search for answers tonight at Nationwide Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets (6 p.m. TSNJets, TSN1290).
Kane has missed six games in more than two weeks since being knocked out of a contest against Philadelphia.
He’ll start his time tonight with linemates Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik.
"I’m back in and ready to go," Kane said after today’s morning skate. "Just getting the legs going is probably the biggest thing. And hopefully feeling the puck early on, playing with the puck in their zone and getting on the forecheck and getting some scoring opportunities, that’s what I’m looking to do in the first period."
The Jets have lost three in a row (0-2-1), even more painful because they were at home, but Kane said today that has no bearing on the approach to his return.
"I’m not nervous or feeling on pins and needles," he said. "I’ve had some experience where I’ve come back before and I’m looking forward to getting back, trying to help this team win."
Jets coach Claude Noel, the former Blue Jackets’ coach, said he’s eager to get Kane back into action.
"Evander hasn’t skated too much and hasn’t played in a couple of weeks," he said. "It’ll be good to get him back in the game. He just needs to get himself going the best he can.
"We’re excited to have him back playing."
Bogosian has missed 13 games with a groin strain but was back in full practice mode today with the team. He’s closer to returning but it isn’t likely to be tonight or tomorrow in Buffalo against the Sabres.
After today’s skate, Noel said he wasn’t surprised by the NHL’s decision Sunday to suspend forward Anthony Peluso for three games for boarding Dallas’s Alex Goligoski on Saturday in Winnipeg.
"If you’re asking me if it’s fair or not, I think it’s right around the mark," Noel said today. "The hit was, I sensed it would be right around there so I’m not really surprised by that. Hopefully he learns a lesson as well. It wasn’t good for anybody. It wasn’t timely, it was an untimely check that cost us."
Peluso was contrite this morning about the check and the suspension.
"Looking back on the video, I guess it was a mistake on the hit on my part," Peluso said. "It was a judgmental call and I shouldn’t have made the hit. I know I cost the team a five minute major and a game.
"Everyone knows my style of play. I finish my hits. I was backtracking. I was caught behind the play and I saw the puck go to finish a hit and I did and like I said before I should have not finished the hit. It’s some of the things the NHL is trying to do to get these out of the game and I have to make a better judgment call."
The Jets, with 33 points, are 10 off the line in the Western Conference.
The Jackets, who have 32 points, are just three points away from a playoff spot in their new Eastern Conference home.