IF this is the bar for returning after an injury, then the Winnipeg Jets ought to be in for a big boost when defencemen Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian get back into the lineup.

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This article was published 19/1/2012 (3557 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IF this is the bar for returning after an injury, then the Winnipeg Jets ought to be in for a big boost when defencemen Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian get back into the lineup.

Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler could have tripped a few radar traps on Thursday night. His speed had an impact on the game as the Jets powered to a 4-1 victory over the skidding Buffalo Sabres.

Of course, injuries to Byfuglien (knee) and Bogosian (lower body) could be of a different nature, but Wheeler was a major factor in adding an assist to his team-leading points total of 33.

He bounced back after sitting out two games to play 19 minutes 35 seconds. The 25-year-old was forced temporarily to the sidelines after being hit in the neck with a slapshot last Saturday.

"We had some good games from some players," said coach Claude Noel. "I though Wheeler was really strong. You could see how we missed him. He had some energy. ... I thought he was really good. It looked like he had some energy and skated well and created a lot."

Wheeler returned to his regular spot with centre Bryan Little and left-winger Evander Kane.

"Before he left, we were playing really well together and to have him back tonight was huge," Little said. "You could just tell in the first period alone that we were a whole different line, really flying out there tonight."

Little said Wheeler doesn't get enough credit for what his speed does for the Jets lineup.

"He always looks fast," Little said. "That's something that ... is kind of underrated, his speed. He's a big guy and he can really move out there. That's a good combination to have."

Wheeler said his precautionary few days away from the team to make sure there were going to be no complications from that puck to the neck certainly didn't hurt him.

"Did it look like it? I felt pretty good," he smiled. "I might need to take a few days off more often. I felt pretty good out there."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca