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Clinton's Five Storylines - WPG @ DET

Hellebuyck, Copp, and Connor all playing in their home state against Detroit

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

The Winnipeg Jets complete their second home-and-home series in the month of December tonight in Detroit against the Red Wings.

Here are the Five Storylines:

HELLY PLAYING AT HOME

Connor Hellebuyck will get the start in goal for the Jets tonight in his home state of Michigan.

Hellebuyck grew up just 34 miles from Detroit in Commerce. The 26-year-old didn't have the opportunity to play in Little Caesars Arena against the Red Wings last season (due to the Jets being in Detroit on the front half of a back-to-back).

This season though, the schedule of a home-and-home series worked out nicely.

"It's real easy to get going for this," said Hellebuyck. "I'm going to have a lot of friends in the crowd and family. It's easy to get the juices flowing. It's a good feel."

Overall, Hellebuyck is 3-1-1 against the Red Wings in his career with a 0.902 save percentage.

HOMECOMING GAME

Hellebuyck isn't the only player on the Jets roster suiting up in his home state tonight.

Andrew Copp and Kyle Connor - both of whom were born in Michigan and played spent their time in the NCAA with the University of Michigan - will also be returning to their old stomping grounds.

Copp had a goal and an assist against the Red Wings in Winnipeg's 5-1 win on Tuesday.

It was his second multi-point performance of the season. That gave the 25-year-old forward 98 career points, two shy of a 100-point milestone.

"It's the team you grew up watching that had so much success. It gives you a little extra bump," Copp said. "Especially with some of the familiarities with the guys on that team, it makes it a little more special."

As for Connor, he had one assist on Tuesday, giving him six points in five career games against Detroit.

EXPECTING A PUSH

Detroit is winless in their last 12 games, but the Jets won't be treating them any differently as an opponent.

"No matter who we're playing or what time of year it is, we're going to go out and play as hard as we can and compete as hard as we can," said Anthony Bitetto. "That was the message day one in the first practice of training camp."

The final score on Tuesday may have been 5-1, but Connor knows the game was tight until late in the second period, when the Jets scored three times in exactly two minutes.

"It was 1-1 until a couple good bounces our way," he said. "We have to respect any opponent you play. They get paid too over there. They're not just going to fold over and let that happen again. They have pride over there and they have some veteran guys. It's going to be a battle."

ON A ROLL

Since November 13, the Jets have scored the 10th most goals in the NHL.

With the offence rolling, especially of late, a number of Jets head into tonight's game with point streaks.

Copp, Adam Lowry, Neal Pionk, and Mathieu Perreault each have points in their last two outings.

Meanwhile, Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler have four-game point streaks of their own.

Connor and Scheifele each have six points over that span, with Wheeler not far behind with five.

Perhaps most importantly however, the offence since November 13 hasn't been at the cost of giving up goals at the other end.

Since that same date, the Jets have allowed the fewest goals against in the NHL with 25. The next closest is Dallas with 30.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Four of Detroit's seven wins have come on their home ice. Their power play at home is clicking at a rate of 22.2 per cent, which is in the upper half of the NHL at 13th.

Coincidentally, the Jets penalty kill on the road is also in the upper half of the league. At 81.1 per cent, it sits 14th.

The first match-up between the two clubs on Tuesday saw a total of 34 penalty minutes and a couple of scrums after the whistle and at the end of the first period.

Both teams are on the more disciplined side of the NHL rankings in terms of average penalty minutes per game (Jets are tied for seventh, Detroit is 16th), but those tempers could continue to flare in the rematch tonight.

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