LOS ANGELES, CA - There is no question it's been a November to remember for the Winnipeg Jets. They have moved up the Central Division standings thanks to a 10-2-1 record this month and sit in second spot, five points back of St. Louis with a game in hand.
Many reasons stand out for the turnaround. Connor Hellebuyck is on the top of that list and whomever Paul Maurice has on the blueline has done a good job. But the Jets coach wants to make sure the forward group gets their fair share of the credit.
"I think it started there first. That's really where we put the most pressure on our team was our forward unit understanding - and I had used the word, I think, appropriately at the time - an inexperienced blue line," said Maurice.
"So we needed that help and they bought into that and when Blake (Wheeler) goes into the middle of the ice, we've got some big men at centre ice to help those guys."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
The Jets defence survived playing the majority of Friday's win in Anaheim with five defencemen with Dmitry Kulikov leaving with an upper body injury. The Russian will not play tonight in Los Angeles so Carl Dahlstrom will step in and play his first game since October 29. The way things have been going for Winnipeg this month, don't be surprised if Dahlstrom plays like he hasn't missed a beat.
"He's a good pro. He's been really good about this whole situation," said Neal Pionk who played over 25 minutes yesterday in Anaheim.
"I know he's really excited to get in the lineup tonight and I think he's going to be good for us tonight."
This is not your usual back-to-back for the Jets. Yes, they did play Friday but it was an afternoon game and it was in Anaheim - a short drive from Los Angeles. With puck drop coming at 9 pm CT, they should be well rested to face the Kings who sit in last place in the Western Conference.
"It was nice. You got to have a dinner at night and get to sleep at a decent hour," said Pionk.
"So I know they (the Kings) had the same thing. It's nice to get that rest in and have seven o'clock game tonight."
Video: PREGAME | Neal Pionk
Pionk is enjoying his time quarterbacking the team's first power play unit which has scored in back to back games for the first time since November 8 and 10. Mark Scheifele really likes the way they've moved the puck in the offensive zone.
"We've been working it good. Obviously some big goals in some big moments, it's definitely good to be back." said Scheifele.
The Jets held an optional skate so there were no line rushes but Laurent Brossoit will get the start in goal against the Kings. The B.C. product has won two of his last three starts. Brossoit did start against the Columbus Blue Jackets a week ago in Winnipeg, but left in the third period with cramps and Hellebuyck ended up getting the win thanks to a late goal from Andrew Copp.
--Jamie Thomas, WinnipegJets.com--
Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele
The Winnipeg Jets finish a three-game road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Kings...The Jets are perfect on the road trip so far after wins against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday and Anaheim Ducks yesterday...After tonight's game, the Jets host the Dallas Stars at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday in the first game of a home-and-home set.
Nov. 29 at ANA - 3-0 W
Jets Scorers: Pionk (3), Ehlers (12), Connor (10)
Ducks Scorers: None
Jets Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (24 sv, 0 ga)
Ducks Goaltender: John Gibson (17 sv, 3 ga)
Jets PP: 1-for-4
Jets PK: 2-for-2
Recap: The Jets shut out the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 yesterday...Neal Pionk scored the game-winning goal on the power play early in the second period...Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine each had two assists...Josh Morrissey led the Jets with three blocked shots...Connor Hellebuyck turned away the 24 shots fired at him, including 13 in the second period.
Three Stars: 1. Hellebuyck 2. Connor 3. Getzlaf
READ THE GAME NOTES
Hit Me With Your Best Shots
The Jets improved to an NHL-best 11-2-0 when being outshot this season with yesterday's win...The Jets have been outshot in seven consecutive games (6-1-0)...Winnipeg is 5-7-1 when outshooting their opponents...The Jets are averaging 33.2 shots against per game this season, which is tied for the fourth most in the NHL.
Wins of Three
The Jets have won three consecutive games for the third time this season...Winnipeg had points in a season-high five consecutive games from Nov. 1-10/19 (4-0-1)...The Jets haven't lost consecutive games since losing three straight games from Oct. 13-17, which is the only time they have lost consecutive games this season...Winnipeg had seven winning streaks of three games or longer last season.
November to Remember
Yesterday's victory improved Winnipeg's record to 10-2-1 in November, which set a franchise record for most wins in November...It's the fifth time in franchise history the Jets have won 10 or more games in a calendar month...The Jets are 83.3% on the penalty kill in November, compared to going 65.4% in October...Kyle Connor leads the Jets in scoring in November with 15 points (6G, 9A) in 13 games.
The Jets are 10-4-0 on the road this season, which is tied for the most wins in the NHL...Winnipeg has won seven of their past eight road games, including matching a franchise record with five consecutive road wins from Nov. 1-19/19...The Jets are in the midst of playing eight of 10 games on the road...The eight games are being played across three time zones and on both coasts...The Jets have not lost consecutive road games this season...Patrik Laine (4G, 13A) leads the Jets in scoring on the road with 17 points in 14 games.
Party in the Pacific
The Jets are 6-3-0 against the Pacific Division this season after going 16-6-2 against Pacific Division opponents last season, which was the most wins against the Pacific by a team outside the division...Winnipeg is on a 31-10-4 run in their past 45 games versus the Pacific...Since 2017-18, Kyle Connor leads the Jets in scoring against the Pacific Division with 50 points (25G, 25A) in 55 games.
The Jets have 10 back-to-back sets this season, the fourth of which is this weekend...The Jets are 3-1-0 in the first and 2-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season...Three of the five wins have come in overtime or a shootout...Winnipeg went 6-3-0 in the first game and 5-4-0 in the second game of back-to-backs last season.
Blake Wheeler has two points in each of his past three games and four times in his past six games...The recent scoring streak has propelled Wheeler in the team lead in multi-point games this season with six...Wheeler had 22 multi-point games last season, which was one behind Mark Scheifele's team-leading 23.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck needed 24 saves to post his second shutout of the season in yesterday's win...His other shutout came Oct. 20 vs. EDM in a 1-0 shootout win when he stopped 28 shots...Hellebuyck has 16 career shutouts, which is one behind Ondrej Pavelec's franchise record of 17...Hellebuyck is tied for second in the NHL in November with eight wins and a .944 save percentage...He's also third in November with a 1.85 goals-against average.
How the Jets Were Built
Drafted (14) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Gustafsson, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Poolman, Scheifele, Spacek, Roslovic
Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler
Free Agency (8) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Luoto, Perreault, Shaw
Waivers (2) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa