As “stay the course” as Paul Maurice’s message seemed with the Winnipeg Jets facing elimination in Game 5, he’s making quite a few lineup changes against the Vegas Golden Knights.
In particular, their defense will look quite different. Ben Chiarot and Toby Enstrom are being replaced by Joe Morrow and Dmitry Kulikov (pictured). On the offensive side, Joel Armia is returning to the lineup in place of Andrew Copp.
While this might feel like swapping lower-end parts (especially in Armia taking Copp’s spot), it’s worth noting that Morrow is likely to pair with Dustin Byfuglien on what is technically Winnipeg’s first duo, so these changes could make a difference. They also shine a spotlight on the gulf in talent between Winnipeg’s left and right sides on defense.
Winnipeg will ask the two returning defensemen to shake off some significant rust. Morrow, 25, hasn’t played since April 20 during the Minnesota Wild series. Kulikov, 27, has been sidelined and/or scratched since March 8.
At least Morrow’s already contributed a big goal during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Game 5 is about to air on NBC (at 3 p.m. ET). You can also stream the action live here.