WINNIPEG -Nights like tonight are when the experience in the Winnipeg Jets (1-1-0) dressing room pays off.
The regular season is two games old - Not much time to put together an in-depth scouting report on the Boston Bruins (1-1-0), who come into MTS Centre tonight to close out a three-game road trip.
But seasoned veterans like Blake Wheeler know what the Bruins are all about, even if the line-ups look different than previous seasons.
"I think you can take some of their tendencies, what they've done in the past, what they've had success doing," said Wheeler. "They have some of the same faces that have given them a lot of success as well. It's always a tough test."
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
One of those faces contributing to Boston's success is Brad Marchand. The 28-year-old has started the regular season on a tear, with six points in two games. Drew Stafford spent over eight seasons in the NHL's Eastern Conference and saw a lot of the Bruins. He knows that despite Marchand's fast start, he's not the only offensive threat.
"Anything we can do to make his game a little bit harder, we're going to try and do that. They've got quite a few other guys that can do some damage, so it's kind of team wide thing," said Stafford. "We're looking to play that heavier game, fast game, and see if we can generate a little bit more than we have in the last couple games."
On a pairing with Dustin Byfuglien, Josh Morrissey saw his ice time jump from 14:45 in last week's home opener against Carolina to 18:18 in Saturday's loss to Minnesota. Besides some first period jitters in the first game of the season, Morrissey has been happy with his game and continued improvement.
He looks forward to an opportunity to go up against Boston's offense tonight, even though he may not have the past experiences to rely on like Stafford and Wheeler.
"The staff gives us information on the other team and their systems, things like that. To be quite honest, when you get out there, I just try to play," Morrissey said. "In a sense it doesn't really matter who you're going against, because you're playing within our system and our structure, and within my own game.
"Once you're out there, you just have to react, not think, and just play."
Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey
Much of the focus in Sunday's practice at MTS Centre was generating offense the right way, after the Jets posted eight shots in the final 40 minutes against Minnesota.
Head coach Paul Maurice feels the low number of shots can be improved, but it starts in Winnipeg's own end.
"Our D-zone coverage, our zone time, is too high," he said, adding the loss of Bryan Little puts extra pressure on centres Mathieu Perreault and Alexander Burmistrov.
"You'll see it tonight with Boston coming down the walls as much as they do. That puck is going to have to get into the middle of the ice, and having experience centremen help with that."
The first opportunity to do that is when the puck drops at 7 pm CT tonight.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets return home to MTS Centre tomorrow to begin a three-game homestand when they entertain the Boston Bruins…The Jets were downed 4-3 by the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Centre…Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele did the scoring for Winnipeg in that game…The Bruins are coming in off a 4-1 loss in Toronto to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night…Winnipeg entertains the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night in what is the first annual Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame Game.
Saturday's loss was the fifth consecutive game for the Jets which was decided by one goal, but it was the first time of the five that was a loss…Winnipeg won its last three games last season by one goal (Apr. 5/16 at ANA 2-1 OTW, Apr. 7/16 at SJS 5-4 W and Apr. 9/16 at LAK 4-3 SOW) and defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime on Thursday in its home opener…The Jets were 13-9-8 in games decided by one goal last season.
Winnipeg's 17 shots they fired at the Minnesota Wild net on Saturday night was the team's lowest shot total since registering 16 shots on Mar. 10/15 at STL in a 5-4 loss…Through 29 NHL games, it's the fewest amount of shots a team has registered in a game in the league this season…Including Saturday, the Jets haven't reached 20 shots in a game 16 times since returning to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season, including four times last season…Winnipeg's season-low shot total last season was 18, which occurred on Nov. 16/15 at STL 3-2 L and Jan. 5/16 at NSH 4-1 W.
Even though the Jets are 26th in the NHL in shots with 43 through two games, they are third in the NHL with a 18.6 shot percentage and tied for seventh in PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage) at 103.2.
With Saturday's loss, the Jets failed to win their first two games of the season, which is something they did last season (Oct. 8/15 at BOS 6-2 W and Oct. 9 at NJD 3-1 W)…In 17 seasons, the Jets' franchise has never won their first two games in back-to-back seasons.
Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has logged an average of 29:38 of TOI through two games, which leads all NHLers who have played more than one game this season…Last year, Byfuglien led the Jets and was 13th in the NHL with 25:12 TOI…Byfuglien is also averaging 33.5 shifts per game this season, which is tied for third in the NHL.
Forwards Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele carried lengthy scoring streaks into the 2016-17 season and have continued them through the first two games of the season…Wheeler has four points (2g, 2a) in the opening two games, while Schiefele as three points (2g, 1a)…Wheeler posted 16 points (8g, 8a) in the final 11 games last season and now has 20 points (10g, 10a) in his last 13 games…Scheifele rode a 10-game streak into the summer, during which he put up 15 points (6g, 9a)…Wheeler also started last season on an eight-game point streak (4g, 7a).