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GAME DAY: Jets at Avalanche

8:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

DENVER, Colorado - Mathieu Perreault hinted the Winnipeg Jets line combinations will be a bit different tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, but neither he nor Jets head coach Paul Maurice were about to show their hand after the morning skate.

"You get a chance to play a different role with different guys. It's fun for me, and I hope other guys see it that way," said Perreault, adding no matter what the changes are, the Jets want to bounce back from Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

"We just want to win games," said Perreault. "We had a chat about what we have to do to start winning games again."

Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault

With Brandon Tanev heading back to Winnipeg for further evaluation on the upper-body injury that took him out of Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the line-up was bound to look different.

Par Lindholm will draw in for his third game in a Jets jersey since coming over from the trade deadline.

"It's been tough practices, my body is more in shape now than when I came in here," joked Lindholm.

"I'm just going to play my game. I think I'm a good defensive player too. That's my strength as a hockey player. But still, I want to contribute in both ends and play good hockey with whoever I'm playing with."

In his first two games with the Jets, Lindholm has three shots on goal in just under 20 minutes of combined ice time between the two outings.

"This will be good for him to get back in," said Maurice. "These two games will be really high energy, high emotion games. This guy works so hard in practice and is a great preparer. He's going to be fine and ready to go."

Video: PREGAME | Par Lindholm

The Pepsi Center has been a tough building for the Jets (46-30-4), who have lost each of their last five in Denver - including two this season.

The challenge doesn't get any easier tonight, as the Avalanche have a chance to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado (37-29-14) has a four-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for that final wildcard spot with two games left in the regular season.

"They're a very resilient team. They work hard. They keep coming shift after shift and roll them over pretty good. It's a full 60-minute game," said Jacob Trouba. "We've had some spurts that we've been good in this building and we've had some where they've been on us. We're trying to find a consistent 60-minute game that we can have some confidence in."

But just as this game means a lot to Colorado, it's also important for the Jets who are battling for the top spot in the Central Division.

Video: PREGAME | Jacob Trouba

Winnipeg and the Nashville Predators are tied with 96 points (though the Jets hold the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker 44-41), with St. Louis one point back.

All three teams have two games left in the regular season - and all three play tonight.

"We win our next two, we finish first," said Perreault, adding that regardless of the seeding, the playoffs tend to be a different animal. "We just want to have that good feeling going into the playoffs right now. That's what we're looking for."

The Jets have always been focused on what they can control despite what might be going on around them. They've also been strong when it comes to bouncing back from performances they haven't been happy with.

The most recent visit to the Pepsi Center saw the Avalanche beat the Jets 7-1. On the next stop that road trip, the Jets beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-3.

That victory over Vegas was more of what the Jets want to look like on a consistent basis.

"We know what we have to do to be that good," said Trouba. "Especially this year, we've had stretches where we've been really good. We have to work our way out of what we're in right now. A little bit of hard work, some focus, and some sharpness will go a long way."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Connor Hellebuyck is expected to get the start, with Philipp Grubauer getting the call for the Avalanche.

Puck drop is set for 8 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton,


Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets continue their final road trip of the regular season tonight when they meet the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Winnipeg's penultimate game of the regular season...The Jets are 1-1 on the trip so far after losing 5-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night...Winnipeg plays its final game of the regular season Saturday night on the road against the Arizona Coyotes.

Playoff Bound

The Jets have clinched their spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs...It's the first time in franchise history that the Jets have reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons...Their magic number to clinch the Central Division is four, which would give the Jets their first division title since relocation...The Jets need to win their remaining two games of the regular season to guarantee the division title...If the playoffs started today, the Jets would host the Dallas Stars, who hold the Western Conference's first wild card spot, in the first round of the playoffs.

Time Travellers

Tonight is the second of three time zones the Jets play in during their final road trip of the season...After staying in the central time zone on Monday against Chicago and Tuesday against Minnesota, the Jets play in the mountain daylight time zone tomorrow and mountain standard time zone on Saturday against Arizona...After staying in the central time zone for their first 10 games, the Jets will have played 26 games this season that were in a different zone time than the previous game by the time the regular season is over.

On the Road

Winnipeg is 21-18-0 on the road this season, which has set a franchise record for most road wins in a season...This is the only time in franchise history the Jets haven't lost a game in overtime or a shootout on the road...The Jets have won three of their past five road games...Winnipeg hasn't lost three consecutive road games in regulation since Dec. 10-20/16...Winnipeg is 17-for-19 (89.5%) on the penalty kill in its past seven road games...Wheeler leads the Jets in scoring on the road this season with 39 points (10G, 29A) in 39 games...Patrik Laine leads the Jets with 19 goals on the road.

Central Foes

The Jets are 13-12-0 against Central Division teams this season...Winnipeg is 4-7 in their past 11 games against Central Division teams and need to win tomorrow to post their third consecutive plus-.500 record against divisional opponents...Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Jets are 47-29-4 against Central Division teams, which is second in the NHL...In that same time frame, Blake Wheeler leads all NHLers in scoring against the Central Division with 98 points (28G, 70A) in 80 games.

Bring on April

Tuesday's loss ended Winnipeg's 13-game winning streak in regular season games in April... The Jets are 19-1-2 in their past 22 regular season games in April, dating back to since Apr. 10/14...Blake Wheeler leads current Jets in career scoring in April with 51 points (22G, 29A) in 56 games.


Bringing the Depth

The Jets' third and fourth lines have scored their past seven even-strength goals (excluding Kevin Hayes' overtime winner on Monday) and have accounted for all the even-strength goals the Jets have scored in their past four games.

Record Holder

Blake Wheeler earned his 70th assist of the season on Tuesday, which is a franchise record for most assists in a season...He has an assist in 48 of his 80 games this season...With 90 points (20G, 70A), Wheeler is guaranteed to have better than a point per game this season for the second consecutive season...Wheeler has scored 20 goals or more in six consecutive seasons...During the past four seasons, Wheeler's 238 assists are second most in the NHL.

Chipping In

Defenceman Jacob Trouba scored Winnipeg's lone goal on Tuesday increase his career high point total to 48 points (7G, 41A)...Since Mar. 18, Trouba is second on the Jets in scoring with nine points (1G, 8A) in nine games...He is second on the Jets with 15 power play assists this season and has 21 (4G, 17A) of his 41 points on special teams...Trouba had 23 points (4G, 19A) in 48 games before the all-star break and has 25 points (3G, 22A) in 32 games since the all-star break.

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