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Exhibition Game #07 Preview and GDT: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final tune-up.

NHL: Preseason-Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets
If Winnipeg has playoff hopes this season, they’ll have to leapfrog Minnesota.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

As the final dress rehearsal before games equal points in the standings, it's completely fair to read into what line-up the Winnipeg Jets are bringing to bear tonight against the Minnesota Wild.

After zeroing in last preview on how the trio Patrik Laine, Bryan Little and Joel Armia seemed set, they've been broken up. The two Finns remain together, with Mathieu Perreault as their new pivot. Laine-Perreault-Armia is likely a third line most Jets fans can live with. Alexander Burmistrov may simply be a Drew Stafford placeholder, but in the meantime, his being alongside Kyle Connor and Bryan Little seems like a no harm, no foul proposition (and truth be told, in this humble blogger's opinion, Connor has earned a slot above Laine to begin the season).

Winnipeg d-corps features neither Mark Stuart nor Brian Strait, but that's not where tonight's story lies. The Jets are creating some goaltender drama llama, as Michael Hutchinson starts for Winnipeg.

Now it's true that head coach Paul Maurice cited Hutch's being in a training camp groove versus World Cup third stringers Connor Hellebuyck and Ondrej Pavelec. But as TSN's Gary Lawless mentioned, the Winnipeg Jets original plan was for Hutch, Pav and Helle to all play two pre-season games. Hutch playing three is a not-insignificant deviation, and when the aforementioned Lawless is guessing trade or waivers, there's likely some fire to this smoke.

Of course, the other side is bringing its best to the party as well. All due respect to the trio of Marko Dano, Adam Lowry and Chris Thorburn, but Minnesota may have the fourth line edge tonight. Dano especially is no slouch, but in Jason Zucker, Joel Eriksson Ek and Christoph Bertschy, the Wild have a fine balance of skill, goal scoring and two-way talent. It's far from your prototypical fourth line, and they're more dangerous for it.

When, Where & How

Saturday, Oct. 8, 7:00 p.m. CT, Xcel Energy Center
TV: TSN3, FOX Sports Go app
Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3, iHeart Radio, TSN 1290

Winnipeg Jets Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Nikolaj Ehlers Mark Scheifele Blake Wheeler
Kyle Connor Bryan Little Alexander Burmistrov
Patrik Laine Mathieu Perreault Joel Armia
Marko Dano Adam Lowry Anthony Peluso
Left Defence
Right Defence
Tobias Enstrom Dustin Byfuglien
Josh Morrissey Tyler Myers
Ben Chiarot Paul Postma
Michael Hutchinson
Ondrej Pavelec

Minnesota Wild Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Zach Parise
Eric Staal Charlie Coyle
Mikael Granlund Mikko Koivu Jason Pominville
Nino Niederreiter Erik Haula Chris Stewart
Jason Zucker Joel Eriksson Ek Christoph Bertschy
Left Defence
Right Defence
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella Jonas Brodin
Mike Reilly Christian Folin
Devan Dubnyk
Darcy Kuemper