The Jets (14-6-3) have won both games against the Wild this season, with each game decided by one goal.
Blake Wheeler has a goal and an assist in those two match-ups, including the game winner when the two teams faced off in downtown Winnipeg on Oct. 20.
"They're a consistent team. If you don't bring your game, it's going to be a tough night," said Wheeler. "We had the right mindset going into Minnesota, just grinded them, and we were able to get one more bounce than they were. Pretty even games, we know it's going to be a tough one tonight."
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
After shuffling the lines to try and spark some offense against the San Jose Sharks two nights ago, head coach Paul Maurice went back to the same lines that started each game on the recently completed four-game trek:
"I'm looking for a continuation. We started right. We got behind it in two games on that trip, and our third periods in those games were really hard, really smart," said Maurice. "We didn't come apart, and that really gave us a good jump off point for going into LA. I'm hoping our third in San Jose is a good starting point.
"You can feel the divisional games… It's going to be tight in this division all year."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Tonight's match up will be the third in four nights for the Jets, who have been on a plane every second day since Nov. 19. It's a trend that will continue until the team returns from Wednesday's game against Colorado on Thursday.
But Wheeler doesn't have any time for excuses.
"It's part of the job. No excuses," said Wheeler. "You have to be ready to play."
The Wild can attest to a busy schedule. This will be Minnesota's 14th of 15 games this month, all within a span of 28 days.
Still, they've managed to go 6-3-1 in their last 10, and 7-5-1 in November, to put them in a tie for fourth in the Central Division with 25 points.
Like the Jets, the Wild are coming off a loss, a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Video: PREGAME | Dmitry Kulikov
So far, the Jets have been strong when it comes to bouncing back from losses. They're 6-1-1 when trying to get back in the win column after a loss in regulation or in overtime this season.
"In San Jose I thought we just didn't use our chances. We had a lot of chances to score a goal, but their goalie was hot, so we couldn't capitalize. A bounce back today would be huge for us," said Kulikov.
"Just erase what happened the night before, don't think about the loss, and just focus on the positive things that we do."
Connor Hellebuyck (12-2-2, 0.929 save percentage) will get the start in goal for the Jets, while Alex Stalock (2-2-1, 0.928 save percentage) counters for the Wild.
Maurice updated the status of goaltender Steve Mason following this morning's pre-game skate.
The 29-year-old left the 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks after the first period with an upper-body injury. Today, Maurice said Mason suffered a concussion.
"We think based on the shot he took. Felt fine right after, the two time-outs, he felt good. By the time he got to the locker room he was starting to feel off," said Maurice.
"I felt at the time it was really precautionary. He got tested yesterday. I can't tell you that it's a mild one, but there weren't strong symptoms. We'll see over the next couple days how it settles down."
Mason was put on injured reserve, and Eric Comrie was called up from the Manitoba Moose as a result. Comrie is 8-4-1 with the Manitoba Moose, and has a 0.927 save percentage in the AHL so far this season.
"We'll get a feel for where we think Steve is in this. It's difficult with these kinds of injuries because you don't know from one day to the next. I had Steve originally going in Colorado," said Maurice, who added he has confidence in Comrie.
That confidence is based both on how the 22-year-old is playing this season, and how he performed in his NHL debut last season, a 35-save effort on Apr. 6 in Columbus that produced a 5-4 Jets win.
"Eric is going to have to play. We play every second night. If Steve is out for any extended time, Eric is going to get into a game."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets return to Bell MTS Place tonight for a brief stop to host the Minnesota Wild for the second time this season...The Jets went 2-2 on a four-game road trip last week, which ended by being shutout 4-0 by the San Jose Sharks on Saturday...After tonight's game, the Jets visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
Hockey Fights Cancer Night
Tonight, all Jets players will wear special Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys during pre-game warmup. During the game, Jets coaches and broadcasters will wear official lavender-coloured Hockey Fights Cancer ties. The Jets will also convert all their rinkboards and in-game visual media to lavender on Nov. 27 in order to generate increased awareness for the cause.
Hockey Fights Cancer™ is an initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association to raise money and awareness for hockey's most important fight.
We all have someone to fight for. For Jets Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon and his wife, Tina, their fight started in October 2015. This is their story:
Video: EXCLUSIVE | Jamie and Tina Kompon's Cancer Story
Jets vs. Wild Notes
- The Jets went 1-4-0 against the Wild last season, but are 9-6-0 against the Wild in the last 15 meetings.
- The Jets have only given up six power play goals in the last 15 meetings (87.5%, 42-for-48 on PK) against Minnesota.
- Winnipeg is 13-9-2 when facing Minnesota since moving to Manitoba in 2011.
- Winnipeg has scored 16 goals in its last four games against Minnesota.
Home Sweet Home
The Jets have won three straight at Bell MTS Place and are unbeaten in regulation in their last seven games (6-0-1)...Winnipeg's last lost in regulation at home was more than a month ago - Oct. 17 vs. CBJ 5-2 L...The Jets are clicking at 27.3% (9-for-33) on the power play at home, which is fifth best in the NHL...With just 10 home games so far this season, the Jets have played the second fewest home games in the NHL so far this season...Captain Blake Wheeler is averaging 1.50 points per game at home with 15 points (5G, 10A) in 10 games.
Get in the Flow
Through December, the Jets play virtually every other day...Aside from the three-day Christmas break, the only other time the Jets have back-to-back days without a game before the new year is Dec. 12-13...Winnipeg is 10-1-1 when having one day between games, while the team is 3-4-1 when having two days or more between games.
Win No. 15
A win tonight would give the Jets their 15th win of the season...To do it in 24 games would be a team record...Here's how many games it has taken in the past to reach 15 wins in a season.
Against the Central
After going 19-8-2 against its Central Division counterparts last season, Winnipeg is 4-1 against the Central to start this season, picking up a pair of wins against the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars...The Jets tied for a share of the best record in games played within the Central Division last season, 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 Wild (1-4-0).
Captain Blake Wheeler is set to play in his 500th game as a member of the Jets franchise...He will become the eighth player in franchise history to reach 500 games played...Teammates Toby Enstrom (695), Bryan Little (695) and Dustin Byfuglien (519) have already reached the milestone.
Wall of Helle
Connor Hellebuyck entered Saturday's game in relief of the injured Steve Mason to play in his 100th NHL game...He is sixth in the NHL with a .929 save percentage...He's allowed two goals or less in 12 of his 16 starts this season...He has 12 quality starts this season, which is two off the NHL lead of 14...Showing his improvement over last season, Hellebuyck has 9.27 goals saved above average this season, compared to -9.96 last season - an improvement of 19.23...Hellebuyck's .813 win percentage is third in the NHL among goalies that have made at least 10 starts.
Streaky at Home
Patrik Laine is on a five-game (3G, 2A) point streak at Bell MTS Place...It's the longest home scoring streak of his career...He has a point in eight of Winnipeg's 10 home games this season.