WINNIPEG - With Bryan Little, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Myers already out of the line-up, the Winnipeg Jets got more bad news on the injury front ahead of tonight's match up with the Washington Capitals.
Head coach Paul Maurice announced Mark Stuart is unavailable tonight due to a lower-body injury, and as a result, the team has recalled Julian Melchiori from the Manitoba Moose.
"We'll have people that wouldn't have played together, play together tonight. There's some chemistry that you've got to try to work through, and some inexperience back there," said Maurice, who believes Washington's offensive talent will add to the challenge for Jets defencemen.
"There's another layer to their offence. It's not just drive it at the net and go to the net. They can drive to the net, (and) hit seams…. So secondary reads, reading through the rush to what's coming next is a bit more of an advanced thing."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
But despite all the talk about Washington's offence - which sits 15th in the NHL in goals per game (2.75) - it's the Capitals defence that has been causing problems for other teams. At an even 2.00, the Caps are tied for the second fewest goals allowed per game in the league.
"They have enough offensive weapons and firepower, but they give up about 25 shots a night," said Maurice. "They're going to be very comfortable playing a good solid, mindful, defensive game. They know that with what you'll get off that defensive game, there's enough there to win hockey games."
At 5-2-1, the Capitals come into MTS Centre to close out a four-game trip through Western Canada, and are riding the momentum from wins over the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
The Jets are looking to bounce back from Sunday's 3-1 loss to Buffalo. Despite the outcome, captain Blake Wheeler felt there were a number of positives from the game.
"We felt like we played a lot of that game in their zone. I thought we had good jump, created some power play opportunities," said Wheeler. "Nights like that, sometimes they're not going to go your way. (We have to) continue to stay on the puck, that's what we do well. Hopefully we can have another strong showing here at home."
Winnipeg is 3-3-0 in front of their home fans, with tonight's game closing out a stretch of seven home games in the first 10 on the schedule. It's also not the first last time the Jets will face the Capitals this week, with a rematch scheduled for Thursday at Verizon Center.
Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine
"They play extremely hard. They're really tough defensively. What we've had success doing is we've stayed patient, we've stayed within our game," said Wheeler.
"I've liked the way we've played. We've stayed with it for the last 60 minutes the last week or so. If we continue to do that tonight, hopefully we have a chance to get two points."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets welcome the Washington Capitals to MTS Centre tonight, as the Jets conclude a stretch of seven of their first 10 games at home, while the Capitals conclude a four-game western Canada road trip…The Jets lost 3-1 to the Buffalo Sabres Sunday afternoon to dip below .500 on the season at 4-5-0…Nikolaj Ehlers scored the lone goal in the game for the Jets, who outshot the Sabres 38-28, including 17-7 in the third period…The Capitals beat the Calgary Flames Sunday night 3-1 for their second win in a row…The return game of this home-and-home set goes Thursday night in Washington, which also begins a three-game road trip for Winnipeg.
After putting up a .500 record or better in November in their first three seasons since coming to Winnipeg, the Jets went 4-9-1 in November last season…The Jets are 24-23-9 in November since 2011 and 91-90-21 all-time…The best November in franchise history was in 2009-10 when in Atlanta the Thrashers went 9-3-2 and collected a team record 20 points in 14 games…With 16 games slated for this November, the Jets will set a new franchise record for the most game played in November.
The Jets play 16 games in 29 days during November, including 10 on the road…During each of the next three weekends Winnipeg will play three games in four nights and four games in seven nights to end the month…The Jets don't have back-to-back days off again until Nov. 21-22
We Meet Again
This week's home-and-home series against Washington is the second of three such home-and-home sets the Jets will play this season and second of four occurrences on the schedule in which Winnipeg will play the same team in back-to-back games…This is the only home-and-home that begins at home for the Jets…All of the back-to-back games against the same opponent occur before the Christmas break…The Jets are 1-1-0 in home-and-home games.
- The Jets can avoid losing back-to-back home games for the first time this season with a victory tonight
- Winnipeg has allowed at least three goals in seven of their first nine games.
- All four of the Jets wins have come in games in which they were outshot (4-2-0)…The Jets are 0-3 when outshooting their opposition.
- Winnipeg is 10-for-11 (91%) on the penalty kill in its last two games.
- Tonight is the second of five consecutive games for the Jets against Eastern Conference opponents…The Jets are 2-2-0 against Eastern teams this season.
- In their seven games since Oct. 17, the Jets have taken 225 shots, which is the fifth-most in the NHL during that time frame…The Jets have also allowed 227 shots since Oct. 17, which is the fourth most in the NHL.
- The Jets have scored three or more goals in a game four times and one or no goals in a game four times this season.
- Winnipeg is outscoring its opposition 12-6 in third periods and overtime, but have been outscored 13-4 in second periods this season.