Video: TSN Pre-Game Report
WINNIPEG - With four wins over the Chicago Blackhawks in their back pocket, the Winnipeg Jets know getting the fifth one will be a tough task.
"We will skate as fast as we can tonight. Pretty much guarantee that," said head coach Paul Maurice. "We match up reasonably well in a lot of areas. But it's almost the speed of the game for us, which is the critical piece. If you're off these guys, or if any part of your game is slow, they'll just find the holes, make the plays. That quickness is the key piece to us playing Chicago.
"They're going to play their very best game against us for the year."
Connor Hellebuyck has been in goal for each of those four wins, and has a .960 save percentage in those games.
The 23-year-old will get the start again tonight, after coming on in relief in Tuesday's loss the Minnesota Wild. The 10 saves Hellebuyck made in just under 32 minutes was his first action since a win over Chicago on Jan. 26.
"I've really had some time to recover from the grind of the beginning of the season, go back and really work on the finer details of my game," Hellebuyck said. "It's hard to say now [how taxing it was] because my body has recovered from it. You don't even realize how mentally and physically grinding it is because every day you're continuing on and once you recover, you're like, 'Wow, this is what good feels like.'"
Video: PRACTICE | Connor Hellebuyck
Speaking of feeling good, Ben Chiarot returns to the line-up tonight after missing 12 games with an upper body injury. The defenceman skated in his familiar spot with Paul Postma at this morning's skate.
"It's an important part of the year. You want to be on the ice with the team, helping and contributing. It's tough sitting out watching," said Chiarot. "It's not fun being injured and not being able to do your job. It can be really frustrating at times. I'm excited to be back healthy and back helping the team."
Chicago (33-17-5) rolls into Winnipeg off a 4-3 overtime win in Minnesota Wednesday night. Jonathan Toews netted the winner in that contest, which moved Chicago within five points of the Central Division leading Wild.
Video: PREGAME | Ben Chiarot
Toews has points in his last three games, and one of the defensive units charged with slowing him down, along with a Chicago offense that has scored 13 goals in their last three games, is Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey.
The two were paired together for the first time in the third period against Minnesota, and remained together at this morning's skate.
"Josh has got a confidence level and a consistency level that we'd like to see him play with Jake. It's a different look for him too," said Maurice. "Jake is up the ice, almost and at times now more than Dustin. But he's not in zone as much. He'll go in and cut it off and come back more frequently.
Video: PREGAME | Shawn Matthias
"It's going to allow Josh a little bit of room to do those things, which we truly believe was his original strength (when we drafted him)."
Puck drop in the season series finale with Chicago is 7 pm CT on TSN 3 and TSN 1290.
To make room for Chiarot to return to the roster, the Jets placed Julian Melchiori on waivers.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets continue a four-game homestand tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, who are making their second and last trip to MTS Centre this season…The Jets are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night…Joel Armia had a goal and an assist for the Jets against Minnesota…The Blackhawks are playing their second game of a three games in four nights stretch and fifth game of six in a row on the road…The Jets continue the homestand tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Jets are 13-6-1 against Central Division teams this season, including 6-1-0 at home…After winning nine in a row against the Central Division, the Jets have lost two in a row to their Central Division counterparts…Tonight is the last of six straight games the Jets have played against Central Division teams (3-2-0)…In the month of February, Winnipeg plays seven of its 11 games within the Central Division.
Aren't You a Good Bunch of Boys!
The Jets didn't have any player take a penalty against the Wild on Tuesday (the lone minor was a too many men on the ice penalty)…It marked the second time this season no member of the Jets drew a penalty in the game - the other was Nov. 6 at NYR in a 5-2 loss…Only five times in franchise history has no member of the Jets been assessed a penalty in a game, with four of those occurrences coming since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011…Furthermore, only 33 times in franchise history have the Jets been assessed two penalty minutes in a game.
The Jets have won all four games against the Blackhawks this season…Winnipeg has held Chicago to one goal or less in three of the four games and have outscored the Blackhawks 14-4…Heading to the season, the Jets had lost four in a row to Chicago…This is the second four-game winning streak the Jets have had against the Blackhawks since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011 - the first streak was Jan. 26/14-Jan. 16/15.
Are We Home Yet?
The Jets have played 26 games at MTS Centre this season, compared to 30 on the road…The 30 road games are tied with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils for the most in the NHL this season…The next time the Jets will have played more home games than road games is at the conclusion of a six-game homestand from Feb. 28-Mar. 11.
Special Teams Notes
- The Jets have played 33:19 more on the power play than on the penalty kill at home this season, but have played 44:24 more on the penalty kill than on the power play on the road.
- The Jets have been shorthanded 66 times in the third period this season, which is - The Jets have allowed one power play goal in eight of their last 10 games and 10 of their last 13 games, but haven't given up more than one power play goal against in a game since Jan. 3 at Tampa Bay - a span of 16 games.
Trouba Takes Off
In 41 games, defenceman Jacob Trouba has surpassed the 21 points he put up last season in 81 games…He has four goals and 18 assists this season for 22 points and has a point in four of his last five home games…Trouba has a career-high 0.54 points-per-game this season and defensively has 23 takeaways, which is eight away from the career high 31 takeaways he registered as a rookie in 65 games.
Joel Armia tallied a goal and an assist against the Wild for his first multi-point game of the season…Seventeen members of the Jets have registered a multi-point game this season…Shawn Matthias and Chris Thorburn are the only forwards on the active roster to have yet to register a multi-point game this season.
Jets vs. Blackhawks All-Time Records
At MTS Centre: 2-4-2