Wild matchup will be costly for Samberg

Jets D-man playing first NHL game in front of friends and family


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ST. PAUL, Minn., — This is going to be an expensive trip home for Dylan Samberg. The Winnipeg Jets defenceman, however, doesn’t mind dipping into his bank account to purchase tickets for family and friends.

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ST. PAUL, Minn., — This is going to be an expensive trip home for Dylan Samberg. The Winnipeg Jets defenceman, however, doesn’t mind dipping into his bank account to purchase tickets for family and friends.

Samberg, 23, will play his first NHL game in his home state Wednesday night as the Jets begin a three-game road trip against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

“I have somewhere around the low 40s,” Samberg, a product of Saginaw, Minn., told reporters in Winnipeg following his team’s practice on Tuesday.


Dylan Samberg (right) will have a lot of supporters in the stands when the Jets take on the Wild Wednesday in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“There are a lot of people that are excited to come down. It’s quick two hour drive. It’s not too bad. Everyone is looking forward to it. I’ve had a lot of people reach out.”

It will be an early U.S. Thanksgiving homecoming for several other Minnesota-born and/or raised players, including Blake Wheeler, Nate Schmidt, Neal Pionk and Dominic Toninato.

Winnipeg is coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Carolina on Monday in which a 3-0 lead with under five minutes to play vanished when the Hurricanes scored three times with their goalie pulled for an extra attacker. Josh Morrissey then won it during the three-on-three skills session,

“Important road trip. First road trip for us win a while, a longer one, it should be exciting. We’ll see some good competition and we need to start on the right foot to put us at the top of the standings,” Samberg said of the journey which will also include stops in Dallas on Friday, and Chicago on Sunday.

Minnesota is a rested club, having been off since beating Carolina 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. They should also be desperate, with a record of 8-8-2 putting them below the playoff line. A chance to gain some ground on the 11-5-1 Jets will no doubt be a priority,

“They’re a good team. The Central is a tough division. We have to come in and be ready to play physical, hard, and it’s an exciting time to be back in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to it,” said Samberg.

“Most of my family and friends will be coming down tomorrow since it’s such a short drive. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of them. It’s nice to that they’re able to come down and watch me.”

Samberg was paired on Monday with Ville Heinola, who skated in his first NHL game this season. Dylan DeMelo missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.

“I feel like we got more comfortable with each other and got into more of a rhythm. We hadn’t played together in a long while. We did a little bit with the Moose in the COVID year,” Samberg said of Heinola.

“It’s good. We were harping on each other about communication, that’s really key out there for us and just trying not to overdo anything?

The Jets held an optional skate on Tuesday before boarding the charter for the short flight south.

“It’s a big week coming up. We’re all aware of that,” said forward David Gustafsson, who had his best game of the year against the Hurricanes. “We’re all excited for this week coming up. Some big games and we’re in good shape for it, too.”

Gustafsson helped set up Mikey Eyssimont’s first NHL goal on Monday, which he was still buzzing about nearly 24 hours later.

“We were all very happy for him. But especially if it’s someone you’ve known before, played with (together on) the Moose, and we’re together up here at the same time, it was fun to see,” said Gustafsson.

His line, with Eyssimont and Jansen Harkins, provided plenty of jump and energy as the Jets largely held one of the NHL’s best teams in check, at least for the first 55 minutes.

“Right now it feels like every game we’re just getting better and getting more confident out there. We actually feel like we can do some stuff with the puck too. When that starts rolling, we can be a dangerous line I feel like,” said Gustafsson.

“(To win Monday) means a lot. That’s an extra point for us. Especially for morale, to come back after losing three goals that fast, that’s very good for team morale to be able to come back.”


Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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