Morning skate update: Winchester, Gonchar ready to return against Jets

The Ottawa Senators will have Jesse Winchester and Sergei Gonchar back in the lineup when they face the reincarnated Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Place Thursday night.

Morning skate update: Winchester, Gonchar ready to return against Jets
General Manager Bryan Murray is deep in thought as the Ottawa Senators practice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, March 19, 2014, . (Photo by Wayne Cuddington/ Ottawa Citizen)

The Ottawa Senators will have Jesse Winchester and Sergei Gonchar back in the lineup when they face the reincarnated Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Place Thursday night.

Winchester suffered a shoulder injury during training camp and has yet to play a game this season. If the morning skate lines hold true, he’ll line up with Stephane Da Costa and Erik Condra on the fourth line tonight. Winchester is slated to play the wing, but expect him to take some faceoffs.

Gonchar took a puck in the skate on Saturday and missed Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia, but is okay to go against the Jets.

Zenon Konopkaand Brian Lee will be the healthy scratches.

Here’s how the rest of the lines looked this morning:

Colin Greening — Jason Spezza — Milan Michalek
Zack Smith — Mika Zibanejad — Chris Neil
Nick Foligno — Peter Regin — Daniel Alfredsson

Filip Kuba — Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen — Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips — David Rundblad

Craig Anderson starts in goal for Ottawa, while Ondrej Pavelec will man the Winnipeg net.

There are currently fewer than 1,500 tickets available for tonight’s game.

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Other news and notes from the morning skate:

— It’s getting really difficult to get a sense of whether or not Mika Zibanejad will still be with this team when it plays game No. 10 this season. Senators head coach Paul MacLean once again called Zibanejad “an NHL player,” but qualified it with the usual “we’ll do what’s best for Mika.” Sounds like the coach is pretty sure, but maybe management isn’t. The Jets are in the exact same position with the player they took one slot behind Ottawa at the draft, Mark Scheifele. Jets coach Claude Noel wasn’t giving any hints on Scheifele’s NHL status this season, though the kid helped himself with his first NHL goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.

Pavelec doesn’t have a sterling record against the Senators (4-3-0), but his save percentage (.925) indicates just how good he’s been in those games. Pavelec was in goal for the Jets’ shootout loss to Toronto.

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