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Wellwood back at practice; Stapleton may also return for Pittsburgh game

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- More lineup changes appear to be in the making for the Winnipeg Jets, who close off their week with a Saturday afternoon game at Consol Energy Center (1 p.m. CT, CBC, TSN 1290).

The Jets actually played two games this week with the same lineup, winning against Toronto and Thursday night in a shootout in Washington, but will have some juggling for Saturday.

Forward Kyle Wellwood, who missed both wins suffering from the flu, rejoined the team today and skated in the afternoon practice. As well, centre Tim Stapleton is likely to come off the injury reserve list and be available for the matinee.

Stapleton's re-activation will require a roster move to keep the team at 23 players. Forward Aaron Gagnon, though he has played well, is the likely candidate to go to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps.

The Jets also practised today without defenceman Zach Bogosian, who was hurt blocking a shot late in Thursday's game. Jets coach Claude Noel said this afternoon that Bogosian will try to skate on Saturday morning and then will be a game-time decision. But Noel already said that if Bosogian can't go, Randy Jones will draw into the lineup.

Winnipeg, 26-24-6 for 58 points, is just three points out of first place in the NHL's Southeast Division. The Jets are four back of the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference chart, and seven back of the 30-19-5 Penguins.

Pittsburgh will enjoy the return of centre Jordan Staal on Saturday. He missed six weeks with a knee injury. Sidney Crosby remains out of the Pens' lineup and has no projected return date.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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