Video: TSN Pre-Game Report
WINNIPEG - It's the first of two meetings this month between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets, and tonight, one team will leave Bell MTS Place with a four-game win streak.
Should that team be the Jets, it will also give head coach Paul Maurice 600 career wins, and he would become the second youngest coach to reach that mark.
Steve Mason will start in goal against the club that drafted him back in 2006. But while the match-up doesn't hold much significance for the 29-year-old - he faced Columbus many times during his five-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers - getting his first win as a Jet means much more.
"I'm looking forward to getting back out there and having some fun," Mason said. "It wasn't the start I was looking for. But we went off and rattled three in a row, so we put ourselves in a good position to get back out of that. I think we just want to continue that.
"At the end of the day I would have liked the first couple of games to go a bit better. That's the way it is. You put it behind you, you work hard, and good things will happen with the good work."
Video: PREGAME | Steve Mason
In his last start, Mason made 39 saves in a 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Oct. 7. That didn't shake Maurice's confidence in the team's off-season acquisition, however.
"I've got lots of confidence in his game," Maurice said. "Steve's two games were a lot better than those numbers will tell you. Especially in Calgary, he made some really good saves… I wasn't down on him at all."
After allowing 13 goals against in the first two games, the Jets as a team have allowed just five during the team's three-game win streak.
Jacob Trouba said the team is playing much better defensively than in the first two contests of the season, and want to bring that type of play in front of Mason tonight.
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
"We kind of left him out to dry there the first couple games. We all know he's a good goalie, and we see how hard he works in practice. That's the kind of guy he is," Trouba said. "You can't even say he's going to bounce back, he didn't really let in any bad goals. He had some poor defensive play in front of him. That's on us.
"I think we've improved on that. We're taking the same mindset into this game. It doesn't really matter who is in the net."
There were no line rushes at this morning's optional skate, but practice at Bell MTS Iceplex looked like this yesterday:
Video: PREGAME | Jacob Trouba
On the other side of the ice, the Blue Jackets will start Joonas Korpisalo, who allowed five goals on 29 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Columbus (4-1-0) will be without Boone Jenner who is on injured reserve with a middle body injury, as well as Gabriel Carlsson (undisclosed), and Jordan Schroeder (conditioning assignment).
The Jets know a thing or two about injuries, and won't have the services of Mathieu Perreault (lower-body), Dmitry Kulikov (lower-body), and Adam Lowry (upper-body) tonight.
Kyle Connor was recalled from the Manitoba Moose yesterday with Perreault moving to injured reserve.
Tucker Poolman - who didn't play in Saturday's win over Carolina - will slot in on his off side with Tyler Myers in Kulikov's absence.
"It was good to play a game with him in the preseason. He's a good guy to play with," said Poolman. "For me it's just getting back in, getting my feet under me. I've tried to stay sharp through the game I've missed. Just go out there, be sharp, and make crisp passes."
Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.
Shortly after 12:40 pm CT, the Winnipeg Jets recalled Brendan Lemieux from the AHL's Manitoba Moose, and placed Adam Lowry on injured reserve retro-active to Oct. 12.
Lemieux has three goals and five points in four games with the Moose this season.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Tucker Poolman
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game homestand tonight at Bell MTS Place against the Columbus Blue Jackets...Winnipeg beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Saturday night to extend its winning streak to three games...The homestand finishes on Friday against the Minnesota Wild.
Taming the Beasts in the East
Dating back to last season, the Jets are 8-2-2 in their last 12 games against Eastern Conference opponents...The Jets won their final five games against Eastern Conference teams to finish last season 14-14-4 against Eastern Conference teams...The Jets won only three of their first 11 games against the East last season and two of those three wins came in overtime...This season the Jets are 1-1-0 against the East.
Winnipeg extended its winning streak to three games with Saturday night's win...The Jets are one of 10 teams in the NHL to have a three-game winning streak this season and can match St. Louis' season-best four-game winning streak with a win tonight...The Jets had three winning streaks of three games or more last season, including a franchise record seven-game winning streak to end the season...This is the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Jets have converted back-to-back wins into a three-game winning streak on their first opportunity.
Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice is one victory away from 600 wins as an NHL head coach...He is poised to become the 17th NHL head coach to win 600 games, joining Joel Quenneville (855), Ken Hitchcock (783), Barry Trotz (716), Alain Vigneault (615) and Mike Babcock (600) as active coaches with at least 600 wins...He's won the most games in Jets franchise history with 139.
Continuing to Roll
Since Mar. 26, the Jets have the third-best record in the NHL at 10-2-0 and have a league-best .833 points percentage...Winnipeg has outscored their opponents 41-34 in the 12 games.
The Jets franchise is 65-83-36 all-time in October, including 27-28-8 since the team relocated to Winnipeg...In their 17th season, the franchise has posted a winning record in October five times (2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015)...The Jets went 7-3-1 in October 2015 for a .652 points percentage, which is a franchise best.
Nikolaj Ehlers was awarded the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday...He tallied seven points (5G, 2A) in three games last week in leading the Jets to a 3-0-0 record...He scored the game-winning goal as part of a hat trick in a 5-2 win at Edmonton on Oct. 9/17, had a goal in a 4-2 win on the road against Vancouver on Oct. 12/17 and ended the week by scoring the game winner and adding an assist in a 2-1 victory against Carolina at home on Oct. 14/17...Ehlers' five goals are tied for the fourth in the NHL...He's one of five players in the NHL to have scored a hat trick this season.
Helle Stands Tall
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 of 29 shots in Saturday's win to also extend his personal winning streak to three games...He's maintaining a career season-high .937 save percentage through four games this season...A win in his next outing would match a career-high four-game winning streak, which Hellebuyck has done from Nov. 27-Dec. 10/15 and Nov. 8-13/16.