The Jets received an early morning blow when presumptive starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was ruled out of tonight's NHL Central Division showdown between Winnipeg (37-22-4) and the first-place Nashville Predators (37-24-4) at Bell MTS Place (7 p.m., TSN3, TSN 1290).

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The Jets received an early morning blow when presumptive starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was ruled out of tonight's NHL Central Division showdown between Winnipeg (37-22-4) and the first-place Nashville Predators (37-24-4) at Bell MTS Place (7 p.m., TSN3, TSN 1290).

Hellebuyck has the flu, so Laurent Brossoit is tonight's starter. The club has also recalled Eric Comrie on an emergency basis from the AHL's Manitoba Moose; Comrie in Belleville, Ont., preparing for a game against the Senators.

"He's ill today," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said of Hellebuyck. "So he came in, got a meal in him and went back home. But he won't back up tonight."

The 23-year-old Comrie, a fifth-year pro, has played in 40 games for the Moose this season and has a 20-15-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.73 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

The Edmonton native has played four career games for the Jets in the previous two seasons and has a 2-2-0 record.

Defenceman Bogdan Kiselevich, a recent acquisition for the Jets via a trade from the Florida Panthers, is also sidelined by illness and will not play tonight.

"He's just coming off what Hellebuyck's going into," said Maurice. "So it'll be a light day for him today we'll get him a full practice and then see where we're at tomorrow."

The goaltending change comes at a pivotal time for the second-place Jets, who face a powerful rival tonight in the kickoff for the stretch run, with 19 regular-season games remaining.

The Preds will have newly acquired forwards Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds in the lineup.

"Granlund didn't play in their last game but their structure in a lot of ways hasn't changed, right?" said Maurice. "...They've got a deep back end that gets up the ice — very, very aggressive off the rush... so their game hasn't changed, it's the quality of maybe a couple of wingers has improved."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
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Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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