Video: PREGAME | JetsTV Road Report
NEWARK, New Jersey - While the Winnipeg Jets line combinations will look different tonight than they have in any of the first two wins of the road trip, one thing is for sure.
Mark Scheifele won't be on any of them, as he will miss tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils.
The centre, who left Tuesday's win over the New York Rangers, is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury unrelated to the ailment that kept him out for 16 games earlier this season.
"It's as good of news as we could've hoped for. There is nothing structural. He's a little banged up," said head coach Paul Maurice. "We'll list him as day-to-day. He may play on this trip, but we won't know that until we get probably another 24 hours out, or 48 hours out."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Scheifele had 13 points in the 12 games he had played since returning from his previous upper-body injury. Now captain Blake Wheeler says the team's depth will be tested again.
"We've had difficult injuries we've had to deal with all year. I think our team has been resilient throughout the entire year," said Blake Wheeler. "We've had an every man approach here this year. Guys have had to step up when guys have been injured.
"Obviously it's a huge hole to fill. Scheifs does a ton of things for us. We're going to have to have everyone step up a little bit when he was out the first time, and see where that goes."
While Wheeler moved to centre during the 11-2-3 run the Jets (40-17-9) went on without Scheifele between Dec. 29, 2017 and Feb. 6, 2018, head coach Paul Maurice says Wheeler will stay on the wing this time around.
"We're a little different looking team with Paul (Stastny) here now. It may get back to him moving to (centre), but I'll leave him on the wing to start," said Maurice. "I'd prefer to have a day like today when you have three or four question marks, than the six weeks you know a guy isn't playing. This is just your standard daily operating life in the NHL."
Those other questions marks come in the form of Tyler Myers and Mathieu Perreault, who didn't take the morning skate.
"Both we expect tonight," said Maurice. "One is maintenance, the other is battling a bug. We've had that go through our team over the course of the last month. Tyler is playing, we expect Matty to be able to play."
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
With Scheifele out, Brandon Tanev will draw back into the line-up for the first time since Feb.3. On the back end, Toby Enstrom will also slot back in after missing four games with a lower-body injury.
The Jets - winners of each of their last three games - didn't do full line rushes during the pre-game skate at Prudential Centre. But they know regardless of what combination is on the ice, slowing down the Devils won't be an easy task.
"It's a big game for both teams," said Josh Morrissey. "I think it's going to be another step up as far as speed goes tonight from even the last couple of games. We have to be ready to go. It should be a fun game. The Devils compete really hard. They have a lot of speed throughout their line-up, their D get involved, it sets up to be a good game."
New Jersey picked up a 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens two nights ago, and sit in the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Left-winger Taylor Hall recorded two assists in the win, which not only moved the Devils to 34-25-8, it was also the 26th consecutive game Hall had registered a point.
"It's virtually unprecedented, not just nowadays, but in the history of the league. That type of consistency, producing at a high level, is a challenge," said Wheeler.
"For the most part when you're putting up points in that many games straight, you're doing something right pretty much every night. He's done a great job. He's been a horse for that team. At times put the team on his back like he's had to do. It's going to be no easy challenge for us tonight."
Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey
The Jets have a player on a streak as well. Sophomore winger Patrik Laine has points in nine straight, including four multi-goal performances in his last five outings.
The remaining four games on Winnipeg's season-long six-game road trip are all against opponents holding down a playoff spot.
"You look at the scoreboard, with a win and a couple of other teams lose, you move up a lot. If you lose, and other teams win, it fluctuates so much," said Morrissey.
"Every game in the NHL is tough. That's why it's the best league in the world."
Connor Hellebuyck starts in goal for the Jets, while Cory Schneider gets the call for the Devils.
Puck drop is set for 6 pm CT.
After making 31 saves to record his first shutout as a member of the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Steve Mason left this morning's skate early due to a lower-body injury.
Maurice said the team isn't sure the extent of the 29-year-old's injury, and that Michael Hutchinson has been recalled from the Manitoba Moose.
Jacob Trouba was in a regular practice jersey for the first time today, but Maurice still thinks the defenceman won't be back in the line-up until after the road trip concludes.
Adam Lowry remained in a non-contact sweater Thursday morning, but Maurice said they continue to push Lowry a bit harder each day, but until he's out of the yellow jersey, they can't go much further than that.
"With all of these, we're erring on the side of caution, at the same time we're not holding a guy out if he says he's ready to go," said Maurice. "We understand what the injuries are, especially when you get into a veteran player, you have a lot more room for him to tell you when he's ready to play."
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets continue a season-high six-game road trip tonight against the New Jersey Devils...The Jets started the trip with a pair of wins after beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Sunday night and shutting out the New York Rangers 3-0 on Tuesday evening...Following tonight, the road trip continues against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
Jets vs. Devils Notes
- In November's win, Winnipeg scored all five of their goals in a 12:27 span in the second period.
- The Jets are 9-1-2 in their last 12 games against New Jersey. Winnipeg has outscored New Jersey 34-19 in the last 12 meetings (excluding shootout goals).
- Winnipeg hasn't scored a power play goal in three consecutive games against the Devils (0-for-8) and are 2-for-29 (6.9%) on the power play against New Jersey in the last 11 meetings.
- On the flip side, the Jets are 27-for-30 (90.0%) on the penalty kill in their last 11 meetings with the Devils.
The Jets picked up their 40th win of the season on Tuesday in just their 66th game of the campaign, which is a franchise record...It marks the fifth time in franchise history the team has reached 40 wins and matches the 40 wins the Jets had last season...The franchise record for most wins in a season is 43, which the Atlanta Thrashers accomplished during the 2006-07 season and the Jets reached during the 2014-15 season...Those are the only two seasons the franchise has reached the playoffs...Also, the 2006-07 and 2014-15 teams hold the franchise record for most road wins in a season with 20...The Jets currently have 16 wins away from Bell MTS Place this season with eight road games remaining.
Facing the East
The Jets are 14-6-5 against the Eastern Conference this season, including a 8-3-2 record versus the Metropolitan Division...Winnipeg has won five consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams and nine of their last 10 games against the East dating back to a 4- 2 victory over the New York Islanders on Dec. 29/17...Winnipeg is in the midst of six consecutive games against the East...Of the eight road games Winnipeg has left, six are against an Eastern Conference opponent...Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 32 points (8G, 24A) in 25 games against the Eastern Conference, which is tied for fifth among Western Conference players.
Special Time on the Road
After losing back-to-back road games on Jan. 12 at Chicago (2-1) and Jan. 13 at Minnesota (4-1), Winnipeg has a point in seven consecutive games away from home (6-0-1)...The Jets are 34-for-37 (91.9%) on the penalty kill in their last 12 games on the road and have killed 18 consecutive shorthanded opportunities away from home...In those same 12 games, the Jets are 10-for-32 on the power play (31.2%), but they didn't have a power play opportunity on Tuesday against the Rangers.
After being named the NHL's second star of the week on Monday, Patrik Laine continued his torrid pace with a natural hat trick against the Rangers on Tuesday to account for all three of Winnipeg's goals...It's the fourth hat trick of his career...According to Hockey- Reference, he joins Jimmy Carson (5) as the only two players in NHL history to have four or more hat tricks as a teenager...Laine is now second in franchise history for most hat tricks, trailing only Ilya Kovalchuk, who had 11 hat tricks as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers...Laine extended his point streak to nine games (13G, 6A) with the trio of goals...His last three games have been multi-goal games and eight of Laine's last nine games have been multi-point games, giving him 14 multi-point games this season...He has 38 goals this season, which is second in the NHL, and 74 goals in his first two seasons, which leads the NHL since the start of last season...Laine's 74 goals as a teenager is tied with Steven Stamkos for fifth-most in NHL history, one behind Sidney Crosby...He passed Kovalchuk (67) on Friday for the most goals by a teenager in franchise history and the most goals by a European-born teenager in NHL history...Only three Finnish-born players have scored 40 goals in a season - Teemu Selanne (seven times), Jari Kurri (seven times) and Tomas Sandstrom (twice). (The last time was Selanne's 48 goals during the 2006-07 season)...And finally, Laine has scored seven of Winnipeg's 10 goals during its current three-game winning streak.
Wins Record at Hand
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck tied the franchise record for most wins in a season with his 34th victory on Sunday night against Carolina...Kari Lehtonen won 34 games in 68 appearances for the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2006-07 season, while Hellebuyck won his 34th game in his 54th appearance...Hellebuyck's 34 victories are the third-most in the NHL this season...With Sunday's win, he improved to 11-2-4 versus the East in 2017-18 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
Since being acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 26, Paul Stastny has five points (2G, 3A) in his first four games as a member of the Jets, including two multi-point games...He's had the primary assist on two of Laine's last four goals and he and Laine have combined for four of the five goals Stastny has been in on with the Jets.
Jets vs. Devils All-Time Records
Bell MTS Place: 6-2-0
At Prudential Center: 7-5-4