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GAME DAY: Jets vs Bruins

7:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Two motivated teams will take to the ice at Bell MTS Place tonight - and if this match-up is anything like their previous two, the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins will give each other all they can handle.

"We've had some agitating games. The last three have been into extra innings," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "They find a way to get physical. I think that's good for both teams. We're closer to when we're at our best when we're in those games - heavy hitters and lots of conversation between the benches."

The most recent meeting between the two clubs was back on Jan. 29, when the Jets bested the Bruins 4-3 in a shootout. Kyle Connor scored twice in that game and added the shootout winner, while Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves in the victory.

Blake Wheeler assisted on Connor's second of the night and believes there are a couple things the Jets can take from that win into tonight.

"It's going to require the same type of resolve," said Wheeler. "We were down in that game and had to claw our way back in the third period. We have to be prepared for that. They're going to force us to do some things we're not comfortable with. We have to do the same to them, not allow them to have any easy ice anywhere. 

"We do that for 60 minutes and we'll see what happens."

Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler

The shootout loss to the Jets was the start of a run that saw the Bruins go 15-0-4 in 19 games.

That streak ended on Mar. 10 in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a setback the Bruins followed up with a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets two nights later.

Winnipeg (40-25-4) also comes in with losses in their last two outings, the second of which was a 5-4 heartbreaker to San Jose two nights ago when Joe Pavelski scored with four seconds left in regulation.

"It's still in our minds just how it ended and how sour that taste was," said Copp. "It's a totally new opponent, so we have to be able to turn the page a little bit. But hopefully we take that loss and put some sandpaper to how we approach the game tonight."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

The Jets only held an optional skate this morning at Bell MTS Place but are expected to go with the same line-up, including Hellebuyck in goal - as the 25-year-old was the first goaltender off the ice at the skate.

The lines are expected to look like this, based on Tuesday's game against San Jose:








The injury bug has bit both teams at this point of the season. The Jets are still without defencemen Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien, while Joe Morrow continues to skate in a non-contact jersey.

The Bruins will be without blue liner Torey Krug tonight against the Jets. The 27-year-old is out with an upper-body injury, joining fellow defenceman Matt Grzelcyk on the sidelines. Forwards Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak also won't play against the Jets tonight.

Video: PREGAME | Andrew Copp

But the Jets know the Bruins always pose a threat, especially when Patrice Bergeron - who scored twice against the Jets in January - and Brad Marchand are still in the line-up.

"He's one of the elites. He's so good at everything. There's not one thing that stands out about his game. He's so well rounded," Lowry said of Bergeron.

"He and Marchand are so good together. They make such incredible reads and then in the circle, (Bergeron) is so capable. That's what makes him so great. He's able to go up against the other team's best players and still contribute at both ends of the ice."

Video: PREGAME | Adam Lowry

Offensively, the Jets have scored 25 goals in the month of March - the most in the National Hockey League. They want to continue to be direct in the offensive zone, but the focus tonight continues to be in the defensive zone.

"Our bigger focus is in our defensive zone, closing in on guys quickly and not giving them a lot of time and space," said Copp. "Especially against a team like this, they'll take advantage of it and create a lot. We need to be close to our man in the defensive zone and understand what they're trying to do and make sure we prevent their strengths from happening."

Puck drop is set 7 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton,


Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game homestand tonight by facing the Boston Bruins at Bell MTS Place...The Jets started the homestand with a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night...Winnipeg finishes its homestand on Saturday against the Calgary Flames before beginning a three-game Pacific Division road trip on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.

Playoff Picture

Magic Number: 15

Current Point Total: 84

Projected Playoff Line: 88 Points

If the Playoffs Started Today...: The Jets (1st in the Central) would have home ice against the Dallas Stars (1st in Wild Card) in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At Home

Winnipeg has the fifth-best home record in the NHL this season at 22-9-4...The Jets have points in 11 of their past 14 home games (9-3-2), which included a seven-game winning streak from Jan. 6-Feb. 2, but haven't won consecutive home games since the winning streak ended...The Jets have the best power play at home in the NHL this season at 31.8% and have scored a power play goal in three consecutive home games (3-for-10)...Winnipeg's 34 power play goals at home this season is tied for second in the NHL...The Jets have a 54-15-6 record at Bell MTS Place during the past two seasons, which is third best home record in the NHL...The Jets have scored 133 goals at home this season, which is third in the NHL, and have outscored their opposition 107-55 in their 22 wins.


The Jets are 17-10-2 against Eastern Conference teams this season, including 6-6-2 against the Atlantic Division...Winnipeg went 19-7-6 against the Eastern Conference last season, including a 10-3-3 record versus the Atlantic Division and 9-4-3 record against the Metropolitan Division...The Jets are 4-2-1 in their past seven games against an Eastern Conference opponent...Blake Wheeler (9G, 26A) leads the Jets with 35 points in 29 games against the Eastern Conference, including 16 points (3G, 13A) in 14 games against Atlantic Division teams.

Offensive March

The Jets have scored 25 goals in March, which is tied for the NHL lead...Winnipeg has four goals or more in four of their six games this month...Eighteen of the 19 skaters that have played for the Jets this month have at least a point, led by Blake Wheeler's 11 points (7G, 4A)...The Jets have gotten goals from 13 different players this month...Mark Scheifele is averaging a point per game with six points (1G, 5A), while Andrew Copp (3G, 2A), Kevin Hayes (2G, 3A) and Mathieu Perreault (2G, 3A) have five points.


Springing Ahead

March and April have historically been successful months for the Jets, as the team has gone 80-54-15 in those two months since relocation...During the past three seasons, the Jets are 30-11-2 in March and April, including a perfect 8-0-0 in April...Blake Wheeler is the franchise's leading scorer in March with 117 points (46G, 71A) in 124 games...Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is 14-7-2 during his career in March with a 2.77 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

Wheels Keep Turning

Blake Wheeler collected an assist on Tuesday and has a point in 51 of his 69 games this season...With 84 points (19G, 65A), Wheeler is guaranteed to have better than a point per game this season for the second consecutive season...He has 65 assists this season, which is second in the NHL, and needs three assists to match the 68 assists he had last season, which was one shy of Marc Savard's franchise record of 69 assists in a season...During the past four seasons, Wheeler's 233 assists are tied with Connor McDavid for the most in the NHL.

Hit Record

Brandon Tanev had five hits on Tuesday and leads the Jets in hits this season with 237, which is fourth in the NHL...He has had five hits in a game 17 times this season...Tanev has eclipsed his career high of 188 hits he had last season...He needs 20 hits to set a franchise record for most hits in a season, which is currently held by Adam Lowry, who had 256 hits during the 2014-15 season...Tanev is averaging 3.43 hits per game this season, which is on pace to be a single-season franchise record.


Mathieu Perreault had a goal and an assist on Tuesday to extend his point streak to three games (2G, 2A) and has a goal in back-to-back games...Tuesday was Perreault's first multi-point game of the season...Andrew Copp scored on Tuesday to extend his point streak to three games (3G, 1A).

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