Tonight the Winnipeg Jets visit the Toronto Maple Leafs, which for Winnipeg is the second night in a back-to-back, having played the Ottawa Senators last night and leaving that building with the victory.
We’ve seen that Winnipeg matches up very evenly and competitively versus Toronto, but the Jets have just a 2-2-2 record against the Leafs this year. Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in the net, shaking off a rough game in Ottawa this past Monday. The sky isn’t falling and the Vezina Trophy recipient can bounce back. We’ve seen him do it time and time again.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off losses in their previous two games and didn’t show too much positive in those efforts.
While teams do go through ruts and slumps, the Jets shouldn’t wait to jump on this Leafs team, who are showing some vulnerabilities right now.
With the fact that the Jets are going into this game with momentum, tonight might be a good time to inject Ville Heinola into the roster, but that is just my opinion, and it’s not my money. Would not hurt for some other players to get some regular-season game experience so come playoff time, they already some confidence.
Who knows what head coach Paul Maurice might do, but given his track record, the lineups are very likely to stay more-or-less the way they are.
Jets To Watch (by Mark Adam)
Derek Forbort is third in the NHL this year with 91 blocked shots. His play as of late has been superb. Keep your eyes on him, as he’s not only been defensively solid, but his offensive play has been more and more impressive as the season rolls on.
Mark Scheifele, nicknamed “Bambi” by his adoring fans on Reddit, is eighth in the NHL with 49 points (16G, 33A). He’s also one of only five players league-wide with over 15 goals and 30 assists.
Before last night’s game in Ottawa, Hellebuyck had made 7 consecutive starts, holding a record of 4-2-1 and a .929 save percentage. His play as of late has been enough to earn him the honour of being named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. Can you smell another Vezina Trophy? I can!
Nikolaj Ehlers hit the 300 points mark in his career last night. He’s only the 4th Danish-born player to reach this milestone, and he’s done so in nearly half the number of games played as the others. He leads all Danes all-time with .73 points per game, and is tied with Lars Eller for the most game-winners amongst men from Denmark with 25. It doesn’t look like the kid is going to stop there, either. Did you see that assist in last night’s game in Ottawa? It goes without saying that the kid has skills, but what is extra exciting is that he also has a ton of room to grow.
Mathieu Perreault is one assist away from moving past Marian Hossa (140) for 10th in franchise history.
Neal Pionk is still 3 assists and just 5 penalty minutes away from 100 of each in his NHL career.
Scheifele can pass former line-mate Patrik Laine (52) for third in franchise history by scoring just one more.
GO JETS GO!