ANAHEIM, Calif. - Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault missed Game 1 of the Jets' first-round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury.
Considered a game-time decision by coach Paul Maurice, Perreault was not on the ice for warm-ups and was replaced in the lineup by Matt Halischuk.
"It's exciting," Halischuk said after the morning skate Thursday. "It's what everybody wants to play for, to get to this 83rd game and go from there.
Perreault skated at the end of practice Wednesday and then for a short time Thursday, testing out the injury he suffered April 9 against Colorado. He has not played since.
Perreault missed 20-regular season games with injuries but still put up 18 goals and 23 assists after leaving the Ducks for a bigger role in Winnipeg.
"He's put up some big numbers for us at key times in the season," veteran centre Jim Slater said. "He's great on the power play, he's great on the wing whatever line he plays with."
Andrew Ladd did not skate Thursday, but started Game 1 on the first line as expected alongside Bryan Little and Michael Frolik.
The Ducks are without injured forward Nate Thompson, but the rest of their lineup was the biggest possible with Bruce Boudreau hoping to counteract the Jets' size. Patrick Maroon started on the first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, defencemen Clayton Stoner and Simon Despres are in over James Wisniewski and forward Emerson Etem replaces Jiri Sekac.
Boudreau praised the six-foot-three Stoner as "the best defenceman on the ice" in Minnesota's first-round series a year ago and expects him to match up well against the Jets along with partner Sami Vatanen.
"He rises to that occasion and has in the past," Boudreau said of Stoner. "He's a physical player and we're playing against a big, physical team. It seems like a natural fit for him to be a good player for us."
Maroon on the wing with Getzlaf and Perry is a repeat of the three regular-season Jets-Ducks games, and Boudreau liked what he saw. At six-foot-two, the 26-year-old Maroon brings the "meat and potatoes" to Anaheim's top trio.
"I think for me I just need to go out there and be big and physical, use my skill and go to the net, create traffic for those two and create havoc for the D back there on Winnipeg to open up space for those two," Maroon said. "That's my job."
Because the Ducks have the last line change, Boudreau could choose to test the Jets' line of Drew Stafford, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler by putting the Getzlaf line against them.
"I think any line on our team can handle any line," Scheifele said. "That's the way we have to approach it."
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