DENVER, Colorado - Hello again.
For the second time in two weeks the Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche will face off at Pepsi Center on a Friday night, and just like the previous meeting, the Jets are coming in on the back half of back-to-back games.
One difference though. This time the Jets fly into Denver coming off a win, a 3-2 decision in Arizona. Though head coach Paul Maurice said it wasn't the team's best 60-minute effort, he felt Winnipeg's play improved as the game went on.
"We struggled, maybe coming off an eight goal night that we were going to do this a little differently," Maurice said. "But it's a good sign when you can make the necessary adjustments in your game or come out and have a period you're not very excited about and then build to it, and play your best period in a 2-1 lead game."
The win evened Winnipeg's record against the Pacific Division to 1-1-0, and tonight's match up with Colorado is an opportunity to continue improving the Jets' record within the Central Division, which currently sits at 3-2-0.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
The Jets didn't hold a morning skate Friday, opting to give the players rest after not arriving at the team hotel until 1:30 am MT. While Winnipeg's rest can be measured in hours, Colorado hasn't played since a 4-2 loss to Arizona on Tuesday.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said Thursday that Semyon Varlamov will get the start against the Jets. The 28-year-old stopped 20 of the 21 shots the Jets fired at him in the 1-0 Winnipeg win back on Oct. 28. Overall, Varlamov is 2-6-0 this season with a 3.67 GAA and a .881 save percentage.
With no morning skate, Winnipeg's official line-up won't be known until closer to game time. Jacob Trouba has yet to play since signing his two-year contract four days ago, but Maurice stresses the importance of putting Trouba in at the right time.
"It's going to be a tough call. For some of them, when the player that has to come out, we want it to be the right time," said Maurice. "I would say you're more open to putting a player in on back-to-back, fresh legs, that kind of idea. We'll look at the minutes. The guys that play the big minutes are staying in anyway. It's not like you're going to get a huge boost because a guy comes in."
Maurice applauded the work of Andrew Copp, Adam Lowry, and Brandon Tanev in last night's win in Arizona. Copp now has two goals and three points in the five games since being recalled from the Manitoba Moose.
Video: POSTGAME | Andrew Copp
"Very consistent from start to finish that line, and I thought Burmistrov's line as well. Both those lines played a hard game, and they spent the time in the offensive zone because of it," said Maurice. "Lowry's line, and there's been a lot of iterations with the injuries we've had, has been a very consistent game for us."
For his efforts, Copp was named first star last night, and his confidence continues to grow.
"I have confidence with the puck now," Copp said. "I think my line is playing well together. I think we're finding each other in the offensive zone. Hopefully we keep things rolling."
Puck drop against the Avalanche is 8 pm CT.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets make their second visit to Pepsi Center in the last two weeks to face the Colorado Avalanche…Winnipeg beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 last night in the first game of this two-game road trip…Eight different Jets had a point last night…Colorado is coming off a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes on Tuesday night and are 2-4-0 since playing the Jets on Oct. 28…The Jets are back in Winnipeg on Sunday for a matinee against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Jets play 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, with the second half of the third occurrence happening tonight against the Avalanche…It marks the second time this season the Jets visit Colorado in the second game of a back-to-back…Of the 28 games involved in the back-to-backs, 23 are on the road…Winnipeg plays three back-to-back sets in November, all of which are on the road…The Jets are 2-0-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season and were 4-7-1 in the second game of a back-to-back set last season.
Tonight's game is Winnipeg's sixth against a Central Division foe - five of which have been against Colorado and the Dallas Stars…The Jets are 3-2-0 against Central Division teams this season and three of the first five games have been decided by one goal…The Jets have four more games against Central Division teams this month, including two against the Nashville Predators.
Out in Front
The Jets have taken a lead into the third period in back-to-back games, both of which are wins…Winnipeg is 4-0-0 this season when leading after the second period…The Jets are outscoring their opposition 16-5 in games in which they take a lead into the third period…The Jets have led after 40 minutes in back-to-back games twice this season, with the first occurrence also happening in games on consecutive days - Oct. 27 vs. DAL 4-1 W and Oct. 28 at COL 1-0 W.
The Jets play 16 games in 29 days during November, including 10 on the road…Tonight continues the second of three weekends of three games in four nights…Winnipeg also plays four games in seven nights to end the month…The Jets don't have back-to-back days off again until Nov. 21-22…The Jets are 3-2-1 so far in November.
No. 1 Contributor
Mark Scheifele's assist last night increased his season total to 19 points (9g, 10a) in 15 games, which leads the NHL and is two points more than four players with 17 points…He's on a four-game point streak (4g, 6a)…Since Mar. 1 of last season, Scheifele leads all NHLers with 23 goals and 46 points in 36 games...He has 12 multi-point games during that time.
Copp Breaking Out
After starting the season with the AHL's Manitoba Moose, Andrew Copp made his Jets debut on Nov. 3 at WSH and has four points (2g, 2a) in his first five games with the Jets this season…He has goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career…Going back to last season, Copp has eight points (5g, 3a) in his last 10 NHL games and 13 points (5g, 8a) in his last 15 NHL/AHL games…He had nine points (3g, 6a) in his first 72 NHL games…Copp's 40% shooting percentage is fourth in the NHL among players that have played at least five games.
- Patrik Laine leads the NHL with 11 goals and five power play goals, while Scheifele is tied for second in the NHL with nine goals.
- Only two of Laine's 11 goals have come on the road, but five goals have come against Central Division opponents.
- Scheifele's nine points (4g, 5a) on the road is tied for fifth in the NHL.
- Dustin Byfuglien leads all NHLers with an average of 28:22 TOI per game and 28:20 TOI per game on the road.
- Byfuglien is the only player in the NHL this season to take 40 or more shots (he has 41) and not have scored a goal…In fact, Boston's Torey Krug is the only NHLer with more than 40 shots to score one goal this season...The other 34 NHLers with 40 or more shots this season, including Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler (46), Patrik Laine (45) and Mark Scheifele (40), have at least two goals.
- Despite the Jets having the worst face-off win percentage in the NHL at 45.1%, Nic Petan has been stellar on draws, winning 20-of-32 for a 62.5% success rate…He has won more than 55% of his face-offs in all four of his games this season.