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Video: TSN Pre-Game Report
WINNIPEG - They may have wins in each of their last three games, and points in nine of their last ten games, but the Winnipeg Jets know the NHL season doesn't get any easier.
The next test comes tonight when the Montreal Canadiens make their annual visit to Bell MTS Place.
"Obviously we're going to be confident with our game, but we have to just hit the reset button and not think about it," said Mark Scheifele, whose hat trick helped the Jets to a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars two nights ago. "The biggest thing for us is we can't get too ahead of ourselves. We can't get too high, and can't get too low. We just have to continue on what has gotten us here and what has made this success happen."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Head coach Paul Maurice won't make any changes to the lineup tonight, and that includes keeping Connor Hellebuyck between the pipes.
Hellebuyck is 7-0-1 this season, and his 0.938 save percentage is third in the NHL among goaltenders with at least nine games played.
"I think the schedule was right for when we got into November, we've got a couple back-to-backs coming up, but if we had a guy that was going, we could run him a little bit more," said Maurice, adding he doesn't expect a high-scoring affair against the Canadiens tonight.
"They're going to come out like a house on fire. We've had good starts, we need to be as quick as they are. I've got this one as a grinder. My feeling on this one is it's not going to be a high scoring game. It's going to be a really tight, well-skated game, and a real competitive game."
Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele
The Canadiens have won two of their last three games, with the loss coming to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Montreal will also be without the services of five-time all-star goaltender Carey Price, after the team announced he sustained a minor lower-body injury.
But Maurice is more concerned about the amount of pucks the Canadiens get to their opposition's net. Their 487 shots on goal are the second-most in the league, averaging just over 37 per game.
"They're spending a lot of time in their opposition's end, and they're getting an awful lot of pucks to the net, and they're a very quick hockey team," said Maurice, adding the crack down on slashing penalties this season has helped not only Montreal, but every NHL team generate offense.
"37 (average shots on goal) for Montreal, that would be a ridiculous number 10 years ago, five years ago. Now it's pretty reasonable because you can get the puck down the wall, you can get it in on the rush. If you've got a half step or you're beside a guy, you don't have to worry about losing a finger."
Video: PREGAME | Jacob Trouba
Here are the Jets projected lines for tonight's game, based on the morning skate:
While Montreal's 4-8-1 has them last in the Eastern Conference, no player in the Jets dressing room is taking them lightly. The focus is on sticking to the game plan that has brought them success.
"It's going to be a desperate team that we're playing tonight. We have to match that. You can't rely on things getting easier, because they never will," said Jacob Trouba. "It's going to be a grinding game. We've talked and it'll be similar to what that Carolina game was. It might not be super pretty, but you've got to find a way to chip pucks out when it's not looking great, and find a way to win a game."
Video: PREGAME | Matt Hendricks
Adam Lowry took part in the morning skate, but will miss his ninth straight game tonight. He's been out since Oct. 14 with an upper-body injury.
"He's healthy and cleared for contact, and good. But the injury meant he couldn't do a lot of conditioning and a lot of grinding, and we don't have to put him in until we can get him through that," said Maurice. "It's more about fitness. It's good, I could put him in the line-up tonight. There's some competition there I certainly don't have him in the pecking order at the bottom there, but coming off an injury, we're healthy enough that he has to be 100 per cent."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets finish a two-game homestand tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, who are making their only visit to Bell MTS Place this season...The Jets ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday...After tonight's game the Jets embark on a three-game road trip through Dallas, Vegas and Arizona.
Jets vs. Canadiens Notes
- Winnipeg has won four of the last seven meetings overall with the Canadiens.
- Ten of the last 15 games between the Jets and Canadiens have been decided by three goals or more.
- The Jets are 1-for-28 (3.6%) on the power play in their last 10 games against Montreal...The lone power play goal was scored by
- Mark Scheifele on Jan. 11 vs MTL.
- Blake Wheeler has three of the four Jets power play goals against the Canadiens since the Jets franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.
- Mark Scheifele has eight points (6g, 2a) in eight career games against Montreal.
Finding a Way
Since March 13/17, the Jets have a 17-5-3 record, which is third-best in the NHL...Winnipeg has earned 74% of the possible 50 points in the 25 games...Thirteen of the 25 games been decided by one goal...The Jets haven't lost any of those 13 games in regulation going 10-0-3.
Locking It Down
After allowing 13 goals in their first two games, Winnipeg has given up only 21 goals in their last 10 games, which is second in the NHL for the fewest goals against in the NHL since Oct. 8/17.
PP Heats Up
For the second time in six games, the Jets scored multiple power play goals in Thursday's win against Dallas with two...The Jets are 5-for-20 (25%) in the power play in their last six games.
After allowing four power play goals in the first two games this season, the Jets have gone 27 for-31 (87.1%) on the penalty kill in their last 10 games (6th in the NHL since Oct. 8/17), including 15-for-16 in their last four games...The Jets haven't allowed a power play goal in six of the 10 games and haven't allowed multiple power play goals in a game since the second game of the season...The Jets didn't surrender a power play opportunity to the Stars on Thursday, marking the ninth time in franchise history that's happened and fourth time in the last three seasons.
Scheifele Hat Trick
Mark Scheifele scored the second hat trick of his career on Thursday against Dallas...His other hat trick came on Mar. 5/16 against Montreal at home...Scheifele joins Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler as members the Jets with hat tricks this season...The Jets are the only team in the NHL this season to have three players score a hat trick.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (7-0-1) has set the franchise record for consecutive points earned to start a season...Hellebuyck posted his seventh quality start (sv% in game above league average) of the season in Thursday's win, which was his seventh start of the season...He has a .875 quality start percentage, which leads all NHL goaltenders that have made at least seven 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 seven starts and is undefeated in regulation...His .938 save percentage is sixth in the NHL.
Jets forward Andrew Copp went 10-for-14 in the face off circle against Dallas on Thursday, which was a career-high for face off wins for Copp...Copp has won more than 50% of his face offs in each of his last four games, going a combined 24-for-37.