December 8, 2019

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Jets black-and-blue line will be without Kulikov until late January

The revolving door continues to spin on the Winnipeg Jets defensive unit.

Exiting the active roster is Dmitry Kulikov, who suffered an apparent shoulder injury Friday afternoon in Anaheim after being squashed against the boards by Ducks forward Carter Rowney in the first period.

Dmitry Kulikov suffered an apparent shoulder injury Friday afternoon in Anaheim after being squashed against the boards by Ducks forward Carter Rowney. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)</p>

Dmitry Kulikov suffered an apparent shoulder injury Friday afternoon in Anaheim after being squashed against the boards by Ducks forward Carter Rowney. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

He missed Saturday's game in Los Angeles, an eventual 2-1 victory for the Kings, and is expected to be sidelined until the NHL All-Star break — eight weeks from now — in late January.

Carl Dahlstrom has slotted in on the third pairing with Anthony Bitetto, while Manitoba Moose regular Cam Schilling was called up a few days ago for some insurance.

Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) has been out since Nov. 23 but could return Sunday when the Ducks come to town. Bitetto, Josh Morrissey and Tucker Poolman have all missed short stints because of injuries.

Kulikov's play was somewhat erratic earlier in the season, but the veteran blue-liner was in a groove the last couple of weeks partnered with Neal Pionk. He averaged 19:42 of ice time per game — nearly four minutes more than he was used to during the 2018-19 season — scored once, set up three goals, was a plus-two and led the squad with 38 blocked shots before getting hurt.

"Dmitry, for me, over the last five or six was playing the best hockey he's played for us, and maybe going back further than that. He was really playing well, so that hurt," said head coach Paul Maurice.

The door swung open for Bitetto when Beaulieu was stung blocking a shot with his right hand against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, and then Dahlstrom entered when Kulikov went down. Neither delivers much flash in the game but share a fairly simplistic, responsible approach to the position.

"Style-wise, the guys coming are pretty similar to the guys coming out, so it doesn't really affect how we feel about what we're going to do, what our plan is," said Maurice.

Up front, Mason Appleton (foot) and Gabriel Bourque (upper body) could return within a week's time.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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