WINNIPEG - Even with 61 man games lost to injury this season, the Winnipeg Jets haven't missed a beat. The team has gone 3-0-1 in their last four, including a win over the Los Angeles Kings Sunday afternoon.
Now the Jets put that streak on the line tonight against another team on a run, the Chicago Blackhawks (11-3-2), who are 9-0-2 in their last eleven games. But captain Blake Wheeler says the Jets (8-7-2) haven't had much time to prepare for Chicago, as they take a busy November one game at a time.
"We'll talk about it before the game tonight," Wheeler said. "We're aware of how they like to play the game. It's always a good challenge."
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
Winnipeg has embraced the challenge of gaining points in the standings besides being without Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers, Joel Armia, and Shawn Matthias for various amounts of time.
Kyle Connor (upper body) was added to that list yesterday, as he was put on injured reserve, making room for another recall from the Manitoba Moose. This time it was forward Chase De Leo, who has three goals and seven points in 12 games with the Manitoba Moose this season.
Since their recalls, Andrew Copp, Marko Dano, Nic Petan, and Quinton Howden have combined for five goals and seven assists in the past seven contests.
"I think it's a huge help that Pascal (Vincent) is down there with the Moose getting us ready to come up," said Petan. "I don't think it matters about personnel. We're working hard, forechecking, back checking, playing the right game right now."
Video: PREGAME | Nic Petan
Head coach Paul Maurice and his staff, along with the Moose coaching staff, spent a considerable amount of time in the off season going over systems to ensure both teams were on the same page. All that work is paying off early in the season.
"We're not having any meetings about 'this is what we do differently' or 'you've got to make a change here.' It's all the same," said Maurice. "When you look at the way Petan and those players came up last year, there was a big improvement from one year of pro hockey. By the end of their first year they were much better players.
"There's a real comfort level with those guys coming up."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
It was also during that busy off season that the Jets named Blake Wheeler captain, with Mark Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien alternates captains. Now Scheifele leads the NHL in points (20), and Byfuglien's 28:43 average ice time per game also leads the league.
"The big one for me I think in being able to so far survive what we're dealing with is our leadership," said Maurice. "Wheeler's play as always, his timely scoring when we've been behind in games. Scheifele is on a pretty good tear here, and Dustin is playing 30 minutes a night.
"Those three men that control your room, have a done a really good job setting the right tempo."
Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.
Alexander Burmistrov returns to the line-up tonight after missing one game with an upper body injury…Stafford participated in today's morning skate wearing a non-contact jersey. He's been out since Oct. 25 with an upper body injury… Maurice says Stafford, Perreault, and Little (out since Oct. 13 - lower body) will be on the plane for the five-game road trip that starts Thursday in Philadelphia, but he doesn't have a timeline for their return.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Quinton Howden
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets finish a two-game homestand tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, who will also visit MTS Centre Feb. 10…Winnipeg beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout Sunday afternoon…Adam Lowry (1g, 1a) and Toby Enstrom (2a) each had two points against the Kings, while Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele scored in the shootout…The Blackhawks come into tonight's game with points in 11 straight games and a five-game winning streak against Central Division opponents…Following tonight's game, the Jets embark on a five-game, nine-day road trip.
Best of the Central
Tonight's game features the best two teams in the Central Division, as the Blackhawks are in first place with 24 points, while the Jets are in second place with 18 points…This is Winnipeg's seventh game against a Central Division foe…The Jets are 3-2-1 against Central Division teams this season and four of the first six games have been decided by one goal…The Jets have three more games against Central Division teams this month, including two against the Nashville Predators at the end of November.
Points in Four
With a 3-2 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings Sunday afternoon, the Jets have earned points in four consecutive games, which is a season high…The most consecutive games in which the Jets earned a point last season was five, which was done in the last five games of the season…Winnipeg's franchise record for most consecutive games with a point is nine, which was accomplished in 2005.
Call Ups Contribute
With seven forwards currently injured, the Jets have received key contributions from forwards called up from the Manitoba Moose…Andrew Copp, Marko Dano, Nic Petan and Quinton Howden started the season with the Moose and have combined for five goals and seven assists in the last seven games…Copp (0.67) and Petan (0.60) are on pace to establish new season highs for points per game.
- After going six games without a power play goal, the Jets have six power play goals in their last four games (6-for-18, 33.3%), which led all NHL teams for most power play goals scored last week.
- The Jets nine power play goals at home this season is tied with the Blackhawks for fourth in the NHL.
- Winnipeg is fourth in the NHL with 502 shots for this season.
- The Jets are a perfect 5-0 when leading after the second period.
- Winnipeg has played on the power play a league-leading 112:23, with 109:08 of that being 5-on-4 power play time…The Jets also have a league-best 28 second period power plays.
- The Jets lead the NHL with 22 third period goals.