May 21, 2018

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Is Mathieu Perreault going to play? Coach won't say

Mathieu Perreault's status for Game 2 tonight remains a carefully worded "game-time decision," according to Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

The 30-year-old forward, who left Game 1 of Winnipeg's Western Conference opening round playoff series with the Minnesota Wild shortly after a heavy hit from Mikko Koivu, did not participate in the Jets morning skate and seems unlikely to play tonight.

Rookie forward Jack Roslovic, Perreault's most likely replacement for a 6:30 p.m. start time at Bell MTS Place, was asked if he knew if he would be playing against the Wild.

"No," said Roslovic following Winnipeg's morning skate. "Ever since the first time I came out of the lineup, the goal was to be ready whenever I got my name called. With (Perreault) taking the hit, we don’t know, you’ve just got to be ready.”

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Mathieu Perreault's status for Game 2 tonight remains a carefully worded "game-time decision," according to Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

The 30-year-old forward, who left Game 1 of Winnipeg's Western Conference opening round playoff series with the Minnesota Wild shortly after a heavy hit from Mikko Koivu, did not participate in the Jets morning skate and seems unlikely to play tonight.

Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) gets checked by Minnesota Wild's Nick Seeler (36) and Jason Zucker (16) during second period NHL game one playoff action in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)</p>

Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) gets checked by Minnesota Wild's Nick Seeler (36) and Jason Zucker (16) during second period NHL game one playoff action in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

Rookie forward Jack Roslovic, Perreault's most likely replacement for a 6:30 p.m. start time at Bell MTS Place, was asked if he knew if he would be playing against the Wild.

"No," said Roslovic following Winnipeg's morning skate. "Ever since the first time I came out of the lineup, the goal was to be ready whenever I got my name called. With (Perreault) taking the hit, we don’t know, you’ve just got to be ready."

If he does play, Roslovic wants to make the most of the opportunity.

"It’s going to be good," he said. "I watched (Game 1) from upstairs. You could feel the energy in the building. I was talking to (Matt Hendricks) about it and he said it was almost a little bit more suspenseful and a little bit more pressure watching up top. Hopefully (playing) will be a little easier."

When pressed further on Perreault's status, Maurice refused to divulge much more.

"I would say if someone is a game-time decision for Game 2 he's a very likely to be a game-time decision for Game 3...," said Maurice, whose club has dealt with numerous injuries to key personnel during the regular season.

"We had three or four centreman out of the lineup at one time, and three or four defenceman out at one point in time, so having a player come out of your lineup... there isn't that wonder what the team is going to look like tonight... we've got good experience with that."

Maurice anticipates the pace of Game 2 to ramp up from Wednesday's opener.

"We didn't like what we gave up off the rush," said Maurice. "I think those are fixable things and we think both teams are going to get quite a bit faster. Some of the tension that all of the Game 1 games maybe have had in that first period. I thought we got better as the game went on."

Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau was asked how he plans to combat Winnipeg's dangerous power play.

"Just another question, I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’" said Boudreau. "It's very similar to Washington's setup. They've got all the right sticks facing in all the right directions. It's a difficult power play to stop and (Paul) Stastny can make the play down low. I mean, the best way to do it is not take any penalties. It's not an easy task, but it's not like we don't know what they're doing."

Veteran Jets centre Matt Hendricks (lower body) participated in Friday's morning skate and has been cleared for contact. However, he has not received medical clearance to play since being injured March 11 in Washington.

"Feeling better every day," Hendricks said. "The training staff has done a fantastic job of getting me back and keeping me in shape. It’s been a quicker recovery than originally expected, so things are moving in the right direction."

Maurice said veteran defenceman Toby Enstrom (lower body) also falls in the category of game-time decision even though he hasn't played since March 23.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Read more by Mike Sawatzky.

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