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Perreault steps up after Connor goes down

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) celebrates after scoring against the Ottawa Senators during first period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, December 3, 2017.</p>

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) celebrates after scoring against the Ottawa Senators during first period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, December 3, 2017.

It’s an in-house fix most teams can only dream of.

Kyle Connor, a key part of the Winnipeg Jets top line who’s been red-hot of late, was unable to answer the bell on Sunday after suffering a lower-body injury while blocking a shot in the previous game.

For most squads, this might pose a bit of a problem.

But not these Jets, who simply moved veteran forward Mathieu Perreault off the so-called fourth-line and into Connor’s spot to play alongside Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.

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It’s an in-house fix most teams can only dream of.

Kyle Connor, a key part of the Winnipeg Jets top line who’s been red-hot of late, was unable to answer the bell on Sunday after suffering a lower-body injury while blocking a shot in the previous game.

For most squads, this might pose a bit of a problem.

But not these Jets, who simply moved veteran forward Mathieu Perreault off the so-called fourth-line and into Connor’s spot to play alongside Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.

The trio combined for nine points in Sunday’s 5-0 laugher over Ottawa.

"What a luxury that is, to have that kind of depth. It’s a bummer to miss KC (Connor) — he has played so well and his confidence is so high. We grab a guy like Matty Perreault seemingly out of nowhere and not miss a beat," Wheeler said.

"He plays so hard. It seems like when he’s out there, no matter what line he’s on, there are so many loose pucks.

"What a blessing to be able to slot him in when you’re missing a guy."

Perreault has plenty of past experience with Wheeler and Scheifele, who now sit fourth and fifth overall, respectively, in NHL scoring.

"That was nice, to play with (Wheeler and Scheifele), two of the best players in the league right now. It’s fun. From the first minute to the last, we took control of that game. It was just an awesome game for us," Perreault said.

His spot on a line with Matt Hendricks and Joel Armia was filled by Shawn Matthias, who had been a healthy scratch for nine straight games. Connor is listed as day-to-day.

"It’s a little different, whoever you play with. But for me, my game doesn’t change a whole lot. I work as hard as I can. I try to finish checks, create loose pucks, and when I see an opportunity to make plays, I try to make them," Perreault said.

Scheifele said Perreault simply picked up where Connor left off, specifically making life miserable for opponents while tracking down pucks.

"I think that’s the sign of a team that has some depth. You have one guy go down that’s been huge for us in (Connor), and (Perreault) comes in and does a great job," Scheifele said.

MASON NEARING RETURN

Goalie Steve Mason is nearing a return to the crease after suffering a concussion Nov. 25 in San Jose.

"He’s feeling really good. He’s going to do the test here in the next day or so. He went hard (Sunday) for an extended period on the ice. No shots, but positioning, things like that. So he’s moving along quite quickly," head coach Paul Maurice said following Sunday’s game.

Mason will travel with the team this week on their three-game trip.

Eric Comrie is currently serving as the backup to Connor Hellebuyck, but has yet to see any action in the four games since Mason was hurt after taking a puck to the mask.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Read more by Mike McIntyre.

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History

Updated on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 11:31 PM CST: Edited and corrects date Mason received concussion

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