The Winnipeg Jets are locked up in a tight playoff race and could now be without Patrik Laine. On Thursday night, the winger left in the first period against the Washington Capitals with a lower-body injury and the team announced he would not return.
Off a faceoff deep in the Jets zone less than two minutes into the game, the puck went back to Michal Kempny at the point and the defenseman fired a one-timer that went off the inside of Laine’s left skate. The Finn immediately went down and struggled to skate while staying on the ice until he could get off. He was seen in pain on the bench and ended up heading down the tunnel needing help while limping.
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If Laine, who only saw 23 seconds of game action, is out for any amount of time it’ll be a huge hole in the Jets offense. The 21-year-old fourth-year winger ranks third on the team in goals (26) and points (59). Entering Thursday’s games, Winnipeg was tied in points with Nashville for the second wild-card spot.
The Jets have been hit hard by the injury bug, and if Laine can’t go he would join a growing list of injuries for Winnipeg who has lost 282 man-games this season. Center Bryan Little was ruled out for the rest of the season less than two weeks ago with a perforated eardrum, joining fellow forwards Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault on injured reserve.
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