The Winnipeg Jets have been absolutely lights out as of late — even without the services of superstar forward Kyle Connor — and they'll look to keep the show rolling when the 27-year-old returns to the lineup on Tuesday night.

Connor was a full participant in Monday's practice and was on the ice again for the morning skate on Tuesday. Head coach Rick Bowness confirmed that the Michigan native will return to his left wing slot on the top line against the New York Islanders.

The star forward has missed Winnipeg's last 16 games after taking a questionable knee-on-knee hit from Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Strome on Dec. 10. Initially given a timeline of six-to-eight weeks, Connor's return comes just ahead of schedule for the surging Jets.

With Mark Scheifele on injured reserve (retroactive to Jan. 12) and Gabriel Vilardi a game-time decision due to illness, Connor could be lining up with Adam Lowry and Alex Iafallo on Tuesday.

Jets drove on in Connor's absence

Nino Niederreiter, Winnipeg Jets, NHL

Even without one of their best players, the Jets have gone a spectacular 12-2-2 over their last 16 games, featuring an eight-game winning streak and a 14-game point streak that saw the club vault to the top of the Central Division.

As of Tuesday, Winnipeg is 28-10-4 and behind just the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins for the top spot in the entire league. Over their most recent hot stretch, Nikolaj Ehlers led the way with 17 points, while Vilardi scored nine goals.

Scheifele has been out since sustaining a lower-body injury against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 11. He could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday vs. the Ottawa Senators.

Despite missing 16 games, Connor still leads the Jets with 17 goals — five of them game-winners. He ranks fifth on the team with 28 points after leading the Jets in goals for three of the last four NHL campaigns.

Kyle Connor's return will be an enormous boost to a team that is dripping with confidence and looks ready to cruise back into the postseason in 2024.


With a .714 points percentage — good for first in the NHL — the show goes on for the Jets against the struggling Islanders at Canada Life Centre on Tuesday.