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GAME DAY: Division rivals clash in Minnesota

7:00pm CT - TV: TSN3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - The Winnipeg Jets won't make any changes to the line-up that picked up a 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins just two nights ago, when they make their first regular season trip to Minnesota to take on the Wild tonight.

Despite the big win on home ice, the Jets (5-3-2) know that game has to be in the rear view mirror when the puck drops at Xcel Energy Center tonight.

"We left that game there. We came out right against Pittsburgh, and you're not going to have that event (five goals in the first period) happen," said head coach Paul Maurice. "With Minnesota, we've always played one-goal games. It seems like the vast majority of them are just grinders. We'll expect that here tonight."

The Jets have points in seven of their last eight games - going 5-1-2 in that span - including a 4-3 win over the Wild back on Oct. 20.

Video: PRE-GAME | Paul Maurice

"When we're skating, using our speed, matching the pace of play, we're in games and we have the opportunity to win games," said captain Blake Wheeler. "The games where we haven't had success, we came out flat and weren't skating. That's no good for us.

"These guys skate tremendously well, they transition tremendously well. They don't do anything crazy or fancy. They're going to make you work for your scoring chances. We need to make them do the same."

Charlie Coyle (broken right fibula) and Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery) won't be in Minnesota's line-up tonight. But after getting Mikael Granlund back from a groin injury on Oct. 24, the Wild got more good news on the injury front today. Nino Niederreiter will play tonight for the first time since spraining his ankle on Oct. 12.

While Chris Stewart and Jared Spurgeon lead the Wild in points with eight so far this season, the team's top two centres Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu aren't far behind, with seven and six points respectively.

Video: PRE-GAME | Blake Wheeler

Maurice says the play of Andrew Copp's line with Brandon Tanev and Shawn Matthias against Pittsburgh, and who they matched up against, could play a big role tonight.

"What was most important about that game was the ability to run Copp's line against (Evgeni) Malkin's. That was the big advantage that we had," said Maurice. "That's really important in here tonight. Koivu and Staal both real powerful guys that are big and strong. Having a line, that if you don't have the (Mark) Scheifele line or even Bryan (Little) for that matter, you've got a line that you're real comfortable with."

St. Paul, MN product Alex Stalock will get his first home start for the Wild (4-3-2), while at the other end of the ice, Connor Hellebuyck will put his 5-0-1 record and 0.937 save percentage to work between the pipes for the Jets.

Video: PRE-GAME | Kyle Connor

The rest of the Jets line-up will look like this:








Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.


Adam Lowry (upper-body) skated with a non-contact jersey again today, but according to Maurice, the 24-year-old forward was getting put to the test following this morning's optional skate.

"Today's a hard day for him. He gets pushed real hard today. If he can get through that and feel strong tomorrow, I don't think we're very far off from a contact sweater," said Maurice. "The nature of his injury has kind of kept him from doing an awful lot of conditioning. So a little longer runway here before he gets back in the line-up."

Lowry has missed six games so far this season, but Maurice said the centre could "possibly" return by the weekend if his injury continues to progress.

- Mitchell Clinton,

Video: PRE-GAME | Andrew Copp


Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets make a quick trip to Minnesota tonight for a Halloween meeting with the Wild...The Jets defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 at Bell MTS Place on Sunday night to run their streak of points earned to four games (2-0-2)...The Jets return to Winnipeg after tonight's game for tilts against the Dallas Stars on Thursday and Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Jets vs. Wild Notes

- The Jets went 1-4-0 against the Wild last season, but are 8-6-0 against the Wild in the last 14 meetings.
- The Jets have only given up six power play goals in the last 14 meetings (86.0%, 37-for-43 on PK) against Minnesota.
- The Jets are three-for-seven (42.9%) on the power play in the last two meetings.
- The Jets franchise is 10-for-57 on the power play all-time in Minnesota and have not scored more than one power play in a game at Xcel Energy Center.
- Winnipeg is 12-9-2 when facing Minnesota since moving to Manitoba in 2011.
- Winnipeg has scored 14 goals in its last three games against Minnesota.

Effective PK

After allowing four power play goals in the first two games this season, the Jets have gone 22-for-26 (84.6%) on the penalty kill in their last eight games (11th in the NHL since Oct. 8), including 10-for-11 in their last three games...The Jets haven't allowed a power play goal in four of the eight games and haven't allowed multiple power play goals in a game since the second game of the season.

Frightful October

The Jets franchise is 67-84-38 all-time in October, including 29-29-10 since the team relocated to Winnipeg...In their 17th season, the franchise has posted a winning record in October five times (2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015) and will post a winning record this year as well...The Jets went 7-3-1 in October 2015 for a .652 points percentage, which is a franchise best...The Jets are 3-3-1 all-time on Halloween night.

Against Central

The Jets finished 19-8-2 against Central Division teams last season, including 12-6-1 against the four Central Division teams that went to the playoffs (Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis)...The Jets tied for a share of the best record in games played within the Central Division, as the Chicago Blackhawks also went 19-8-2 in divisional games...The Jets also had a winning record against every Central Division team, except the Minnesota Wild (1-4-0)...Only seven of Winnipeg's first 31 games this season are against a Central Division opponent and three of the seven games are against Minnesota.

At the Dot

The Jets won 54.4% of the face offs on Sunday to win the face off battle for the second straight game and third time in their last five contests...The Jets are 16th in the NHL with a 50.7% face off win percentage, led by Matt Hendricks' 60.7% (17-for-28) win percentage.

Tricks and Treats

Captain Blake Wheeler scored a hat trick in a span of 4:20 in the first period against the Penguins on Sunday...It's the first time in franchise history a Jets player has scored a hat trick in the first period and established a new franchise mark for the quickest three goals by one player...Wheeler scored three goals on three shots, marking the third time in franchise history a player scored a hat trick with a perfect shooting percentage (Eric Boulton - Dec. 18/10 at NJD; Bryan Little Dec. 5/15 at COL)...Wheeler joins Nikolaj Ehlers (Oct. 9 at EDM) as the two Jets players to net a hat trick this season...Patrik Laine had all three Jets hat tricks last season.

Quality Helle

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck posted his fifth quality start (sv% in game above league average) of the season in Sunday's win, which was his sixth start of the season...He has a .833 quality start percentage, which leads all NHL goaltenders that have made at least five starts...Last season he only had a .472 quality start percentage (25-of-53)...Hellebuyck is the only goaltender in the NHL that has made at least five starts and is undefeated in regulation (5-0-1)...His .937 save percentage is sixth in the NHL.

Multi-Point Nights

A season-high five Jets players registered a multi-point game against Pittsburgh, led by Blake Wheeler's four-point night (3G, 1A)...Winnipeg had four players post a multi-point game Oct. 20 vs. MIN and Oct. 9 at EDM...Wheeler and Mark Scheifele lead the Jets with three multi-point games this season.

Lemieux Gets No. 1

In his fourth NHL game, Brendan Lemieux scored his first NHL goal on Sunday on his second career shot...It was assisted by Joel Armia and Tyler Myers, who he was acquired with from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11/15 as part of a seven-player trade.

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