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GAMEDAY: Jets at Hurricanes

6:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

RALEIGH, NC - Because the Winnipeg Jets skated yesterday at PNC Arena it was an optional skate this morning ahead of their game with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Most of the players took part of a game of 'foot volleyball' in the hall down from their dressing room and there was lots of hollering and laughing. A good sign the team is remaining positive despite the fact they've lost three of their last four games.

"If we start crying about it, then it's not going to do us any good. Even though we are here having fun, the moms are on this trip, we're focused," said Ehlers.

"We know what we need to do and it starts tonight. So we're excited and it's going to be a good game."

Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

Paul Maurice has noticed the positivity and touched on the fact it's not easy to do with the pressure the team is under right now as they fight to get back into a playoff spot ahead of the All-Star break.

"So we're clear, this isn't a casual thing for us. We know what our record is in the last five games. We know the situation we're in and by design we don't want to be walking around dragging our lips, feeling sorry for ourselves" said Maurice.

"You have to work hard to be in a good mood some days when you're not happy and we want them to work at it. We want them to stay together and do their normal routines and not be a dead quiet bus and the sky is falling. You've got to fight to get out of these things. What we can control in our days between games, getting into the games is working hard to have a positive mental attitude."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

From the sounds of it and due to the injury to Adam Lowry, a ton of movement has happened up front with Jets lines. Ehlers will be back with Blake Wheeler and Jack Roslovic, meanwhile, Mark Scheifele returns with Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.

"It's a function of what happened to Adam. So we'll go back to the forward units that we know," said Maurice.

"We may make one more adjustment here in game, one or two, depending on what these lines look like. But we'll go back to things that we know."

Kristian Vesalainen arrived in Raleigh yesterday and took part of the optional skate after being recalled by the Jets. The Finnish forward has nine goals and 22 points in 44 games with the Manitoba Moose this season.

"First of all it was pretty tough start for me (this season) but now it's been better and better," said Vesalainen.

"So I just have to keep up the hard work and hopefully good things can happen."

Video: PREGAME | Kristian Vesalainen

Maurice wouldn't elaborate if Vesalainen will get into the lineup in either of the remaining two games in Raleigh or Columbus before the break. However, he has heard good things about Vesalainen's game from Moose head coach Pascal Vincent.

"They like how he's playing. A lot of what we do when we call a guy up is by position. For need, especially if I've got him going in right away," said Maurice.

"Or it's the guys down there (in the AHL) that they like going so I don't see many of those games. Saw one last week but his game's improving."

Connor Hellebuyck will start tonight in goal and Maurice added Laurent Brossoit will play tomorrow night in Columbus.

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets play the second game of a three-game road trip tonight when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes...The Jets dropped a 5-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night in the first game of the trip...Winnipeg ends the trip on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Jets second game in as many nights.

Last Game

Jan. 19 at CHI - 5-2 L

Jets Scorers: Scheifele (23), Laine (16)

Blackhawks Scorers: Nylander (6), Gustafsson (6), Kampf (7), Saad (13), Kubalik (21)

Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (28 sv, 4 ga)

Blackhawks Goaltender: Robin Lehner (36 sv, 2 ga)

Jets PP: 0-for-5

Jets PK: 2-for-2

Recap: The Jets fired 30 shots in the final two periods, but lost 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night...Six different Jets registered a point...Mathieu Perreault led the Jets with six shots, while Dmitry Kulikov had a team best nine hits and four blocked shots.

Three Stars: 1. Kane 2. Lehner 3. Nylander

READ TONIGHT'S GAME NOTES

On the Road

The Jets are 14-9-2 on the road this season, which places them tied for the third in the NHL...The Jets have lost consecutive road games in regulation for the first time this season...Mark Scheifele ranks tied for eighth in the NHL in road scoring with 30 points (12G, 18A) in 25 games.

Tale of Two Special Teams

The Jets are a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill in their past four games and 16-for-17 (94.1%) on the PK in their past seven games...Winnipeg ranks sixth in the NHL in penalty kill percentage in January at 88%...The Jets power play has gone 1-for-12 (8.3%) in its past four games...It's the lowest it's been in the five-game segment this season.

Shots, What Are They Good For?

The Jets have outshot their opposition in consecutive games, but are 7-12-1 this season when outshooting their opponent...Winnipeg has outshot its opponent three times in the past 14 games, but are 15-7-3 when being outshot.

Avoiding the Trio

The Jets need a win tomorrow to avoid losing three consecutive games in regulation for the second time this season...The only occurrence so far was three losses from Oct. 13-17 on home ice...Winnipeg has won multiple games in each of their five-game segments this season, but are 1-3-0 as they finish a five-game segment tomorrow.

Pre-All-Star Success

The Jets have won 25 games before the all-star break for the third consecutive season...Winnipeg went a franchise best 31-15-2 before the all-star break last season and 29-13-8 during the 2017-18 season.

Uncharacteristic Winter Blues

The Jets have posted a winning record in January in each of the past three seasons and four times in the past five seasons...Winnipeg went a combined 15-6-2 in January in the past two seasons...With a 3-5-1 record in January this season, the Jets need to win their final three games to keep the streak going.

Star Duo

Forward Mark Scheifele and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are representing the Jets at the 2020 NHL All-Star event in St. Louis this weekend...Scheifele leads the Jets in scoring with 53 points (23G, 30A) in 49 games, while Hellebuyck is 21-15-4 with a 2.71 goals-against average and .919 save percentage...Scheifele also represented the Jets last season, while Hellebuyck played in the 2018 event...This is the third consecutive season the Jets have had two players named to the Central Division's all-star team.

Hits and Blocks

Defenceman Dmitry Kulikov led the Jets with nine hits and four blocked shots on Sunday...The nine hits he had is one shy of his career record...He is averaging 1.93 hits per game this season, which is the second most of his career.

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (15) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Harkins, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Niku, Nogier, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic

Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler

Free Agency (7) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Perreault, Schilling

Waivers (3) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa, Shore

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