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Clinton's Five Storylines - WPG @ SJS

Jets have won five of their last six road games

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

The Winnipeg Jets open a three-game road trip tonight in San Jose, the second of three meetings between the two clubs this season.

Here are the Five Storylines:

BITETTO BACK IN

With Nathan Beaulieu out longer than day-to-day according to Jets head coach Paul Maurice, Anthony Bitetto will draw into the Jets line-up for the first time since November 5.

Bitetto has one point in 14 games for the Jets so far this season and will be paired with Luca Sbisa on the blue line against the San Jose Sharks.

"You never want to see someone go down," Bitetto said after practice on Tuesday. "In the business we're in that's kind of how things happen sometimes. When your number is called, you have to be ready."

Maurice added that with Beaulieu not on the trip and not expected to be on the ice within a week, Carl Dahlstrom could also draw into the line-up at some point as well.

ROLLING ON THE ROAD

The Winnipeg Jets have won five of their last six road games and are 8-4-0 overall away from Bell MTS Place. Those eight wins are tied for the third most in the National Hockey League.

One of those victories came earlier this month at SAP Center against the Sharks, a night Paul Maurice felt was a jumping off point for both clubs.

"We've been playing a whole lot better than the last time we were in here. We followed that up with a great performance in Vegas on back-to-back the next night," said Maurice. "They walked away going 'all we have to do is play like that and we'll be fine,' and we learned you have to stay in the fight and we can win some games."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

POWER PLAY SHUFFLE

With one power play goal in the last 10 opportunities, Maurice hinted he might change up the power play units soon. That day came in practice on Tuesday.

He reunited the group of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, and Neal Pionk.

The other unit includes Josh Morrissey, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jack Roslovic, Andrew Copp, and Mathieu Perreault.

"There's a lot of skilled players out there and different options to look at," said Morrissey. "It's all about execution and goals going in at the end of the day. We're going to look at some things like that. The coaches have put some things together for us. When you have a bunch of skilled players, it's all about finding the right fit and it's going to start to go in."

The power play units will face a stiff test against a Sharks penalty kill that is tops in the league at 91.4 per cent, and hasn't allowed a power play goal against in the last three games.

SURGING SHARKS

When the Jets left the building on November 1 with that 3-2 victory, San Jose fell to 4-9-1 on the season.

Since then, they've won nine of 11 games, including three in a row heading into tonight's contest. That's pushed them all the way up into a playoff spot, just one point back of the Vancouver Canucks for third in the Pacific Division.

"They've got a little confidence in their room," said Maurice. "This will be as tough an out as going into Dallas when they were on their run."

Video: PREGAME | Andrew Copp

HELLEBUYCK BACK IN GOAL

The last time Connor Hellebuyck stepped on the ice at SAP Center, he made a career-high 51 saves to earn the victory over the Sharks.

He's back between the pipes tonight. He has a career 5-3-1 record against the Sharks in 10 games, with a 0.926 save percentage.

Overall, his 0.928 save percentage this season has him fourth in the NHL, while his goals against average of 2.42 sits seventh in the league.

"He's not one to attract too much attention to himself. He's a very humble guy and is obviously a great teammate," said Andrew Copp. "He's complimented the D and the forwards for coming back and all that. He's been rock solid back there."

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