The Winnipeg Jets will be without forward Evander Kane for Monday's home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins because of an injury he suffered during Saturday's game in Phoenix.
Head coach Claude Noel didn't provide any details about Kane's condition but said the injury occurred after Kane blocked a shot and "it didn't look like" Kane would be able to suit op Monday night.
On paper Kane's loss should be a problem for the Jets since he is supposed to be one of the team's top fowards. But he has yet to live up to billing this season, with no goals and no assists.
The Jets are desperate for a win, or even a point. The club is dead last in the league and the only team without a point. Pittsburgh comes into Winnipeg after a loss in Buffalo on Saturday and they have their own injury issues. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are both out and did not make the trip. The Penguins also appear to be fading a little from their remarkable start, having lost for the first time in Buffalo.
That should, in theory, give Winnipeg some kind of advantage especially given what is almost certain to be an enthusiastic crowd. Noel said he was happy Crosby and Malkin wouldn't be playing, but he added Pittsburgh has a number of other strong players. They include James Neal, who is among the NHL's leading goal scorers this season with five.
"They've got other good players," Noel said. "You don't win the Stanley Cup without good players. But I'm not worried about them. I'm worried about us."
One big area of concern for the Jets has been the team's power play, among the worst in the league without a single goal. It will be tough against the Penguins who are the tenth best penalty killing team in the league. The Penguins are also among the top teams on the power play. Of the 17 goals the team has scored this season, eight have come from their special teams.
"They don't have, maybe, the extra goal or something their top stars give them but they are going to play a real hard system and they are very difficult to beat," said Jets forward Kyle Wellwood. As for the Jets: "We haven't been good in any area."