With Pierre-Luc Dubois finally ready, Winnipeg visits Calgary

NHL Hockey

It’s been a long two-and-a-half weeks for Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the wait finally appears over for the Winnipeg Jets center.

After being traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 23, followed by the resulting quarantine, Dubois is poised to make his Jets debut Tuesday when they hit the road for a clash with the Calgary Flames.

Dubois, who scored one goal in five games with the Blue Jackets before his trade request was answered, has practiced on a line with Kyle Connor and Trevor Lewis the past couple of days as his new team tries to find a spot for him on a squad that’s very deep up the middle.

“As you watch the games, you see how the team plays, the identity of the team — they’re hard to play against, they’re big, they have skill, they can pass the puck, skate. Hopefully I can get in there and support,” Dubois said.

“The more video we watched, the more you get used to it,” he added. “It’s not too much different from what I’m used to apart from a couple things.”

Expect Dubois to also see some power-play time.

“Being able to add a centerman like Pierre-Luc, just such a rare thing to be able to do,” coach Paul Maurice said. “Especially one that young but who also has had a big chunk of his development time handled already. We’ve got ourselves to real good depth situation at center ice. Now we have to maximize it.”

The Jets have won three of four meetings with the Flames this season, the most recent being their last game, a 4-1 victory in Winnipeg last Thursday.

The Flames are coming off an entertaining 6-4 victory Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers in Calgary.

“There were some really good things for us to build on. It’s nice to get scoring from three of our lines tonight and that’s a good thing,” coach Geoff Ward said. “There are a lot of things that game that we can build on moving forward here, but it’s just one game.

“We … have a big game coming up with Winnipeg and we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to go that way. It’s a day at a time, but there’s enough to build on that we can feel good about the direction we’re going in.”

The victory featured six different Flames goal scorers and showed some of the team’s depth when it is rolling. Although much of the attention is given to the duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan — who skated with Sam Bennett on their line last game — or the line featuring Matthew Tkachuk, which also includes Elias Lindholm and Dillon Dube, the third trio had a huge hand.

Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic and Andrew Mangiapane combined for two goals and five assists.

“All three of us are good forechecking players and I thought we did a good job of getting in on the forecheck and creating the O-zone time that we didn’t have in the first (period),” Backlund said. “It worked out and scored that big goal — the first one — and we just got rolling. It was a big period for us there. It was fun to play with those guys.”

The Flames have a seemingly disgruntled forward in Bennett, who has reportedly asked to be traded, but being on a line with Gaudreau and Monahan certainly is a huge opportunity. To his credit, his goal in the 11th minute of the third period gave the Flames the 6-4 lead Sunday.

“It’s one of the best duos in the league,” said Bennett, who skated with those two in Monday’s practice. “Getting the chance to play with them and start to build some chemistry, it’s a lot of fun.”

–Field Level Media

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