Sports Hockey

Enstrom getting closer to Jets return

Tobias Enstrom is nearing a return from a broken collarbone on Halloween. (QMI Agency/Files)

Tobias Enstrom is nearing a return from a broken collarbone on Halloween. (QMI Agency/Files)


The Winnipeg Jets’ depleted roster could be getting a big boost as defenceman Toby Enstrom is expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Jets defenceman has been out since suffering a broken collarbone after taking a hit from Florida Panthers forward Jack Skille on Oct. 31.

Jets head coach Claude Noel said Enstrom was “not ready (for Thursday) but might be for the weekend.”

Meanwhile, the Jets are set for an important Southeast Division battle with the Washington Capitals (7:35 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290).

As for the rest of the folks in the infirmary, Noel said forward Alex Burmistrov and Randy Jones are “out” for Thursday’s game, while centre Nik Antropov will be a game-time decision.

Right-winger Eric Fehr, a late addition to Tuesday’s lineup, should be good-to-go to face his former team, while left-winger Jason Jaffray cleared waivers but is expected to play on Thursday as well.

The Capitals are one point behind the Jets in the standings but hold a game in hand.

“We want to make up ground, especially here with our (six-game) homestand. It’s another game we get to use our hometown crowd to our advantage,” said Jets forward Chris Thorburn. “They’ve got the same personnel, so we know what to expect from that standpoint. They’re a skilled bunch and they’re dangerous offensively. We’ve got to do what we did against Minnesota (in Tuesday’s 2-1 win) and keep things simple.”

Ondrej Pavelec gets the call in goal for the Jets, while Michal Neuvirth starts for the Capitals, who are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

“(Pavelec) has good success against our team — we’ve had a hard time playing against Winnipeg this year and last year when it was Atlanta,” said Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin. “We have to have a good start.”

This is the Capitals’ second visit to MTS Centre and Ovechkin is looking forward to the latest fan reaction.

“The atmosphere in Canadian cities is unbelievable,” said Ovechkin. “I love playing when (there’s) lots of attention and lots of fans in the stands.”

Newly acquired winger Antti Miettinen was not on the ice with the Jets on Thursday, but is expected to be at the game tonight and join his new teammates for practice on Friday.