WINNIPEG -Tonight's tilt between the Winnipeg Jets (2-4-0) and the Dallas Stars (3-2-1) could be about the Jets avenging Tuesday's loss in Dallas.
While that will be the case for many in the Jets dressing room, for Kyle Connor, it may be just as much about opportunity.
The 19-year-old Connor was scratched when the Jets dropped a 3-2 decision to the Stars. Now after watching one game, Connor is expected to skate with Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault tonight.
"They come out of a league where they were able to do it a certain way and they get to the best league in the world and those opportunities aren't there in the same volume that they're used to," said head coach Paul Maurice. "There's less offence generated by the elite players in this league on an average night than those guys think. That every time they touch the puck, something magical doesn't happen.
"They don't need to do that to be a good offensive player to stay in the line-up."
Video: PREGAME | Mathieu Perreault
Connor had 35 goals and 71 points with Michigan in the NCAA last season. He has one assist through the first five games of his NHL career. He only has to look to the middle of the ice to find someone who went in and out of the line-up early in his professional career as well.
"It's never fun. I've been there before and I know those games when I came back it was a bounce back game where you want to show you deserve your spot in the line-up," said Perreault, a veteran in his fifth NHL season. "Hopefully he can come out tonight and play a good game."
Now in his second NHL season, Ehlers can relate to the offensive adjustment Maurice talks about. In two seasons with Halifax of the QMJHL, Ehlers racked up 205 points in 114 regular season games. His first professional season saw him finish with 38 points. Early in that campaign, Ehlers had a stretch of three points in 25 games, only to finish on a tear, with 12 points in 15 games.
He looks forward to working with Connor tonight.
Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers
"He's got speed. I think if we use our speed really well, that would be great," said Ehlers. "He's a great player obviously. He has playmaking skills, he can shoot the puck, and he can score. With Perreault on our line as well, it's going to be really exciting."
While Connor looks to make the most of his opportunity, the Jets will be looking to get back in the win column after losing their last two games. Winless in the Central Division through two games, captain Blake Wheeler said there are a lot of positives to build on from Tuesday's loss at American Airlines Center.
"Unfortunately there are going to be nights like that when you bring a lot to the table, play a really solid game, and end up losing. That's part of this league," said Wheeler. "That's just part of the learning experience."
The puck drops at MTS Centre on the second of five meetings between the Jets and the Stars at 7 pm CT.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
JETS GAME NOTES
Winnipeg and Dallas complete their home-and-home set with the back half tonight at MTS Centre…The Stars took the first game 3-2 in Dallas on Tuesday night, which marked a second consecutive loss for the Jets…Joel Armia and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets on Tuesday…Following tonight's game, it's a quick turnaround for the Jets, who head to Denver to face another Central Division foe in the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night.
Mark Scheifele's goal on Tuesday with the goaltender pulled marked the fourth time this season the Jets scored with six skaters on the ice, including twice on the power play...The Jets scored two goals with the extra skater all of last season…Chicago (2 goals) is the only other team in the NHL to score more than one goal with the goalie pulled this season…Winnipeg has pulled its goalie in hopes of scoring the tying goal in all six of their games this season…The Jets successfully tied the game with the goalie pulled in 5-4 OT wins against the Carolina Hurricanes (Oct. 13) and Toronto Maple Leafs (Oct. 17) this season.
The Jets play 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, with the first occurrence starting tomorrow against the Stars and continuing Friday against the Avalanche…Of the 28 games involved in the back-to-backs, 23 are on the road…This is the only time a back-to-back is split between home game and road game…Winnipeg plays three back-to-back sets in November, all of which are on the road.
We Meet Again
This week's home-and-home series against Dallas is the first of three home-and-home sets the Jets will play this season and first of four occurrences on the schedule in which Winnipeg will play the same team in back-to-back games…All of the back-to-back games against the same opponent occur before the Christmas break…With Tuesday's loss, the Jets are 0-1-0 in consecutive games against the same opponent.
Team Quick Hits
- The Jets have trailed going into the third period in all six of their games this season.
- Through six games, the Jets have played with the lead a total of 17:02.
- Winnipeg has not lost consecutive home games this season, but have lost both of their road games to start the season.
- The Jets are 1-3-1 in their last five games against Central Division opponents.
- Winnipeg has taken 26 more shot attempts than they've allowed when trailing in games this season, which is fifth-best in the NHL.
- At 45%, the Jets are second last in the NHL in face-off win percentage, but have won 54% (27-for-50) of their face-offs on the power play.