By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
For the first time since returning to Winnipeg the Jets will welcome the Vancouver Canucks to the MTS Centre for a regular season meeting. MHN has you latest news and notes to get you set up for tonight’s matchup.
Tonight’s 7:30 game time will be accompanied by an Olympic send off for the four Winnipeg Jets heading to Sochi, Russia. Blake Wheeler, Michael Frolik, Ondrej Pavelec and Olli Jokinen will all be honoured before puck drop.
Since December 27th, the Jets are 7-2-0 in the Western Conference. Before that, the Jets went 6-15-4 dating back to the beginning of the regular season.
The Jets come into tonight’s game nine points adrift of the fourth-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Divison. The Wild dropped a 5-4 decision last night to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Jets are 4-4-1 against Canadian opponents this season with their most recent contest resulting in a 5-4 overtime win last Saturday over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ondrej Pavelec will get his eighth start since the appointing of Paul Maurice as head coach. Pavelec is 5-2-0 in his previous games with Maurice at the helm.
Blake Wheeler collected his 22nd goal in the Jets 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. The goal marked a new career-high for the American Olympian and into a tie for 17th on the NHL’s goal scoring list. Wheeler has 22 goals and 22 assists on the season. His best season as a Jet came in 2011-12 where he amassed 17 goals and 47 assists for 64 points.
Wheeler is on a three-game point streak and goal-scoring streak with four goals and one assist.
Mark Scheifele scored a goal and added an assist in the Jets loss to Nashville. Scheifele’s 11 goals and 20 assists have him sitting pretty in fourth place in rookie scoring, six points back of leader Nathan MacKinnon. Scheifele is tied for the lead in rookie assists. Since January 5th, Scheifele has been on a point-per-game pace with five goals and six assists.
The Jets other young stud, Jacob Trouba, leads all rookie defenceman in average time on-ice with 21:40 per game. Trouba has 20 points on the season, including seven goals and 13 assists and sits in third place in rookie scoring among defenceman. Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins leads the way with 29 points.
Mark Stuart currently leads the Jets in blocked shots with 98 on the season. He is also on his second point streak of the season where he has assisted in each of his last two games.
Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler share the lead for Jets points this season. Both have 44 points each in 55 games played.
Maybe tonight is the night where James Wright gets a hat trick and breaks the longest drought in the NHL by a team without a hat trick.