Connor returns to the Jets lineup, Ehlers is in, Scheifele is still out

The surging Winnipeg Jets get one of their biggest offensive weapons back with the return of their leading scorer Kyle Connor.

The Jets announced Tuesday that the 27-year-old left winger was available for Winnipeg’s game that evening against the New York Islanders.

The update comes after Connor fully participated in practice in Winnipeg on Monday for the first time since being injured in a knee-to-knee hit by Ducks forward Ryan Strome in a 4-2 win in Anaheim on Dec. 10.

Despite being out of action for more than a month, Connor remains the Jets’ leading scorer with 17 in 26 games.

However, the Jets stood out despite missing out on Connor’s performance. Winnipeg (28-10-4) posted a 12-2-2 record in the winger’s absence and entered Tuesday atop the Central Division and two points behind Vancouver in a bid for the top spot in the Western Conference.

The influx of offensive players will be welcome, however, with leading scorer Mark Scheifele out day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Jets announced Tuesday that Scheifele, who has 14 goals and 27 assists in 41 games, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Friday to create a roster spot for Connor. He missed his first game of the season in the Jets’ 2-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, which ended an eight-game winning streak.

Connor has 226 goals and 226 assists in 492 career games for the Jets since Winnipeg selected him 17th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Nikolaj Ehlers suffered an upper-body injury in practice on Friday but did not miss Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He did not participate in Monday’s practice, but instead took part in what assistant coach Scott Arniel classified as a maintenance day. He has 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 41 games this season.

Mark Scheifele suffered a lower-body injury in the second period Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks and did not return. Scheifele missed Friday’s practice and Saturday’s game against the Flyers. He has 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points in 41 games this season.

The Jets’ eight-game winning streak and 14-game point streak ended with a 2-0 loss to the Flyers on Saturday.

–with files from Sportsnet staff

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