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GAME DAY: Jets vs Flames (Preseason Game #5)

8:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV /

WINNIPEG - As training camp winds down and the Winnipeg Jets preseason games go by one after another, time is of the essence for those trying to make an impression on the coaching staff.

It's been a slow start for Kristian Vesalainen, who has yet to find the net and has two shots on goal through three games.

"I've tried to work hard but I think I have to show a little bit more too with the offensive game." said Vesalainen.

Video: PREGAME | Kristian Vesalainen

The first round pick in 2017 is known for his shot - which helped him score 26 goals in 67 games in the Finnish Liiga two seasons ago when he was just 18. So, the logic would be for him to shoot more and he knows it.

"They haven't actually talked to me about that, I know it myself," said Vesalainen when asked if the coaches have spoken to him about increasing the shot attempts.

"I haven't shot any pucks lately. You can't score if you're not taking those shots so I have to shoot more."

The young Finnish forward will be in the lineup again tonight when Winnipeg travels to Calgary to face the Flames at 8:00 p.m. CT. While Vesalainen has been critical of his performance, Paul Maurice has seen some positives in the 20-year-old's adjustment to the North American game.

"He's a skilled man. He's a good skater. The biggest adjustment (when) these guys come over on a smaller sheet of ice with bigger and faster men in a really defined game," said Maurice.

"Even though it looks chaotic, the NHL game is very defined and so it's somebody's job to have you if you've got the puck and over here that happens very, very quickly. When you have a skilled player whose smart and reads the game, once he gets his pace up and realizes he can do all those things he used to do, he just has to learn to do them all faster."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Vesalainen and teammates Sami Niku were involved in a minor car crash before the start of training camp and that could be a factor.

"I really liked his strength the last two times I saw him at development camp (back in June) he was physically driving (to the net) better," said Maurice.

"I think the car accident set him back a few days. So I don't know that I assessed his first four or five days, I just kind of left him alone and I liked his last game more than the previous one. So he's on the right track.

The Jets will be facing a Flames roster that looks mostly like the one Calgary will being the regular season with.

So it's nice to know the Winnipeg defence will have a strong veteran presence with the likes of Josh Morrissey, Dmitry Kulikov, Nathan Beaulieu and Anthony Bitetto. Another familiar face will be Nelson Nogier who had a solid effort against the Blues last Friday with two shots on goal and three hits.

"I think it's about making sure that I'm prepared and ready for the task at hand that night," said Noigier.

"Each time that you draw into the lineup is an opportunity to show not only the coaching staff but to management that you've done what it takes to earn a spot on this team and make the most of every opportunity.

-- Jamie Thomas,

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets visit the Calgary Flames tomorrow in the back half of a home-and-home set…Winnipeg won the front half of the home-and-home 4-1 on Sunday night….The Jets are playing their fifth of seven pre-season games…After tomorrow's game, the Jets host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and visit the Minnesota Wild on Sunday to finish the pre-season.

Last Game

Sep. 22 vs. CGY - 4-1 W
Jets Scorers: Roslovic (1), Wheeler (2), Luoto (1), Ehlers (2)
Flames Scorers: Ruzicka (2)

Jets Goaltender: Brossoit (22 sv, 1 ga)
Flames Goaltenders: Talbot (25 sv, 3 ga)

Jets PP: 0-for-3
Jets PK: 1-for-2

Recap: The Winnipeg Jets scored three times in the third period to down the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Sunday night at Bell MTS Place…Blake Wheeler scored the eventual game-winning goal at 9:43 of the third period and added an assist for his second multi-point game of the pre-season…Mark Scheifele also turned in a two-point performance with two assists…Laurent Brossoit improved to 2-0 during the pre-season by turning away 22 of 23 shots…Brossoit has stopped 42 of 44 shots in his two starts for a .955 save percentage, which is second among NHL goaltenders that have faced 40-or-more shots.

Three Stars: 1. Brossoit | 2. Luoto | 3. Heinola


Copp Contributor

Andrew Copp is the leading pre-season scorer among the Jets playing tomorrow with three points (1G, 2A) in two games…He had two points (1G, 1A) in the first 1:37 of the game on Sept. 18 against Minnesota in a 3-1 win…He had three two-point games all of last season.

On the Road

The Jets are looking for their first road win of the pre-season after falling 2-0 to the Edmonton Oilers in the first game of the pre-season on Sept. 16…Winnipeg went 22-18-1 on the road last season, which included an 8-1-0 stretch from Nov. 24-Dec. 31/18.

Against the Flames

The Jets went 1-2-0 against the Flames last season, winning the last meeting of the season on Mar. 16 2-1 at Bell MTS Place…Blake Wheeler leads the Jets in career scoring against the Flames with 18 points (6G, 12A) in the 18 games.

Back Outside

The Jets are scheduled to face the Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Oct. 26 for the 2019 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic…This is Winnipeg's second outdoor game, as the Jets hosted the Edmonton Oilers in 2016 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at IG Field.

Road Start

The Jets play five of their first six games on the road to begin the regular season, including a four-game road trip to start the season…Winnipeg visits the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Pittsburgh Penguins to kick off the 2019-20 campaign…The Jets were 22-18-1 on the road last season, which was 13th in the NHL.

Rookie Recap

The Jets went 1-2 during the Rookie Showcase earlier this month in Belleville, Ont…The Jets rookies beat Montreal 2-1, while they dropped the two games to Ottawa (8-1 and 2-1 OTL)…Cole Maier led the Jets contingent in scoring with three points in three games (1G, 2A).

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