The red-hot Winnipeg Jets suffered a big blow on Tuesday, as head coach Paul Maurice announced Evander Kane would be held out until after the Olympic break with a hand infection.
Kane, who recently returned from a four-game absence after slicing his hand while fighting Tampa’s Eric Brewer, has played well of late. He notched 1G-1A in his first game back — a 3-2 win over the Ducks, handing Anaheim its first regulation loss at home this season — then proceeded to register assists in a 5-4 OT win over Toronto and a 3-1 win over Chicago.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Kane’s hand “ballooned up” on Monday night and was being treated today.
The Jets, winners in six of their last seven, have six more contests remaining until the Olympic break — a pair of home dates against Nashville and Vancouver, followed by a four-game road swing through Montreal, Carolina, Washington and St. Louis.
As such, losing Kane for such a significant amount of time is huge. Winnipeg has turned its season around under Maurice and is making a playoff push, currently sitting just seven points behind Minnesota for the eighth and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Kane sits third on the Jets in goals, with 15, and is the only forward on the club averaging more than 20 minutes per night.