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Clinton's Five Storylines - WPG @ CAR

Copp moves to centre, Hellebuyck starts, and the challenge the Hurricanes present

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game road trip tonight in Carolina against the Hurricanes. Here are the Five Storylines.

SWITCHING THINGS UP

With Adam Lowry sidelined at least four weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in the road trip opener in Chicago, Andrew Copp will shift lines (and positions) after playing on the wing with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers against the Blackhawks.

Against Carolina, Copp will move to centre between Mathieu Perreault and Mason Appleton.

"I liked my line last night, but for now I have to go in the middle. The calling card for me has been my versatility and moving up and down the line-up. Hopefully me, Appleton, and Perreault can get some success," said Copp, who has the team's best win percentage in the dot at 54.5 per cent.

"It should be a line that plays in the O-zone a lot and gets chances and converts those chances. I still feel we can be a solid third line."

In addition, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler will flip back to where they were prior to the loss to Chicago. Scheifele with Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, Wheeler with Nikolaj Ehlers and Jack Roslovic.

WATCH THE STICKS

The Hurricanes were credited with nine takeaways in their first meeting with the Jets back in December.

After that game, head coach Paul Maurice and the players spoke about how many pucks the Hurricanes knocked down in the neutral zone, which slowed down Winnipeg's offence.

That lesson hasn't been lost on the Jets.

"They have great sticks. We can't feed their transition game. We got caught up in the neutral zone a few times," Copp said.

"We just have to defend harder. At the end of the day we just have to defend harder and have a lot more urgency in our zone without the puck. I feel like we're getting a little loose."

LOOKING FOR A STRONG START

The Jets have been outscored 6-2 in the first period over the last four games. Both goals that the Jets have scored came in the 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, with the other six coming in losses to the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Chicago Blackhawks.

This season, Winnipeg's goal differential from the start of the second period through overtime (if necessary) is a +3, however, they've allowed nine more goals than they've scored in the first period.

"Their gap is a foundation of what they do defensively and they transition off that with some real good quickness and good hands," head coach Paul Maurice said of Carolina. "You're not going to have the puck very long. If you try to take time with it, they'll get a stick on it. They have great sticks and they knock an awful lot down and they transition off it."

BACK-TO-BACKS

The Winnipeg Jets are 4-1-0 in the front half of back-to-back sets this season. Tonight's game in Carolina kicks off the sixth of 10 back-to-backs the Jets play this season.

The last back-to-back the Jets played also featured two Eastern Conference opponents. The first game was in Toronto, which saw Winnipeg earn a 4-3 shootout win over the Maple Leafs before falling 5-4 to the Boston Bruins the next night.

Similar to that back-to-back set, the Jets will start Connor Hellebuyck tonight in the front half with Laurent Brossoit getting the call on Wednesday in Columbus.

SEARCHING FOR A SPLIT

This is the final regular season meeting between the Jets and Hurricanes. Carolina won the first match-up by a score of 6-3 on December 17, 2019. Prior to that loss, the Jets had won four straight games against the Hurricanes. In fact, 13 of the last 15 meetings between the two clubs have been decided by one goal. In one-goal games, the Jets are 14-4-4 this season.

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