Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Winnipeg Jets

GAMEDAY: Jets vs Bruins

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

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - While his main focus will be on helping his Winnipeg Jets pick up a victory tonight against the Boston Bruins (29-10-12), Mark Scheifele will also be trying to make his 500th career game a memorable one.

With a mind as sharp as his, it's no wonder he's able to recall particular moments from his entire career - including his first game back on October 9, 2011.

"Hal Gill sitting on me," said Scheifele with a grin. "That was the main one. It's crazy how time flies."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

That moment may also sum up just how far the 26-year-old's game has come. Over the span of 499 games, Scheifele has 174 goals and 425 points. 

Those have all been a product of constantly improving his game, season after season. Head coach Paul Maurice indicated a lot of what Scheifele does well is predicated on just how physically strong the centre has become over the years.

"He's learning where to put himself on the ice, how to position, how to take passes, he works on all that," Maurice said. "But you've seen it this year, from the hashmarks down in the offensive zone, there are big men leaning on him and boy is he getting good at controlling that puck.

"He's in the 95th percentile of the National Hockey League for puck-on-stick control in the offensive zone, almost the 96th percentile. He has it on his stick and he's able to control the puck."

Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele

Scheifele leads the Jets in points with 54 through 51 games this season. He'll once again have Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine on his wings tonight against the Bruins, who beat the Jets 5-4 back on January 9 at TD Garden.

That night, Scheifele saw a lot of Boston's top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand. Scheifele believes as his trio continues to grow together, they can learn some things from Boston's top forward unit.

"It doesn't matter who is getting the shot - if it's Marchand, Bergeron, or Pastrnak - they're always in the right spot, they play good defensively and they create offensive chances for each other by being in the right spot," Scheifele said. "That's a prime example to look at. That line, it doesn't matter who is scoring the goal, they're all going to the right spots to open up each other."

There will be one other tweak in the Jets line-up, as Mason Appleton slides onto the wing with Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers.

"It gives us some coverage depending on if you get the match-up you want at home with (Adam) Lowry and (Bryan) Little out. It balances the lines," said Maurice. "It puts (Mathieu) Perreault, (Andrew) Copp, and (Jack) Roslovic - a line that was very good for us at the end of last season - together. They can do more than just hold water. It's not just about Mason getting his opportunity, it's what it does to that middle six lines."

While the Jets didn't do full line rushes as part of Friday's pre-game skate, the full line rushes from Thursday's practice are an indication of what to expect tonight:

Connor-Shaw (Scheifele)-Laine

Ehlers-Wheeler-Appleton

Perreault-Copp-Roslovic

Bourque-Shore-Harkins

Morrissey-Pionk

Kulikov-Niku

Bitetto-Sbisa

At 25-22-4, the Jets sit four points back of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference. With 31 games to go (and at least a game in hand on many of the teams in the race), the Jets want to get off to a good start coming out of the player break.

After tonight's game against St. Louis, the Jets face off with the Central Division leading St. Louis Blues Saturday, then face the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

"The next three out of four are divisional games. These are going to be huge for us," said Laine.

"We're in the hunt. We're fine. We have to stop losing, stop the bleeding right now. Try to win tonight. It's a huge back-to-back for us - it's not the easiest back-to-back you can have, but it's a good challenge for the team. We're ready for it."

Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine

It's a tough schedule to be sure, but breaking into the NHL - like Scheifele did back in 2011 - is difficult as well.

He's risen to the challenge and he believes his team can do the same.

"Boston has a lot of skill. They're a very solid team. They're going to make you pay if you give them a chance," Scheifele said. "It's a fast game. It's a hard game. It's going to be a grind and we have to be prepared for it."

Laurent Brossoit is expected to start in goal for the Jets, while Tuukka Rask will get the call for the Bruins with puck drop set for 7 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets return from an eight-day all-star/player break tonight to host the Boston Bruins at Bell MTS Place, which begins a three-game homestand...The Jets lost 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 22 in the last game before the break...Winnipeg entertains the St. Louis Blues Saturday night in their second game in as many nights.

Last Game

Jan. 22 at CBJ - 4-3 L

Jets Scorers: Appleton (2), Connor (25), Pionk (5)

Blue Jackets Scorers: Jones (5), Bjorkstrand (15, 16), Nyquist (11)

Jets Goaltender: Laurent Brossoit (25 sv, 4 ga)

Blue Jackets Goaltender: Elvis Merzlikins (27 sv, 3 ga)

Jets PP: 1-for-2

Jets PK: 0-for-1

Recap: The Jets held the lead on three different occasions, but fell 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 22...Winnipeg only trailed for the last 5:38 of the game...Kyle Connor (1G, 1A) and Luca Sbisa (2A) each had a pair of points for the Jets...Sami Niku paced the Jets with four blocked shots.

Three Stars: 1. Bjorkstrand 2. Dubois 3. Jones

READ THE GAME NOTES

At Home

Winnipeg is an even 11-11-2 at home this season and play nine of their next 10 games at Bell MTS Place...The Jets are 1-6-1 in their past eight home games after a five-game home winning streak between Nov. 23-Dec. 15...Winnipeg went 18-19-4 on home ice during the 2015-16 season, which is the only time since relocation the Jets have had a home record at or below .500 in a season...Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in scoring at home this season with 23 points (11G, 12A) in 24 games...Kyle Connor has a team-leading 12 goals.

Beasts from the East

Tomorrow ends a stretch of four of five games the Jets have played against the Eastern Conference...Winnipeg has dropped the first three games and are 9-12-1 against the East this season, including 5-5-0 against the Atlantic Division.

Back-2-Back

The Jets have 10 back-to-back sets this season, the seventh of which is this weekend...The Jets are 4-2-0 in the first and 2-4-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season...Four of the six wins have come in overtime or a shootout...The Jets have three back-to-back sets during the next 24 days...Winnipeg went 6-3-0 in the first game and 5-4-0 in the second game of back-to-backs last season.

Rested, For Now

The Jets are 9-4-2 when getting two days or more of rest between games this season...After having eight days off, the Jets play 16 games in the next 30 days and have two days off between games just twice in that span.

Rare Streak

Winnipeg's four-game losing streak is just the sixth losing streak of four games or more in regulation since Paul Maurice was named the team's head coach on Jan. 12/14...It's the first such streak since a four-game losing streak from Feb. 4-14/17...The Jets went 139-74-22 since their previous four-game losing streak for a .638 points percentage...The longest losing streak under Maurice are a pair of five-game streaks from Nov. 7-16/15 and Nov. 17-25/16.

All-Star Recap

Forward Mark Scheifele and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck represented the Jets at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis last weekend...The Central Division lost 10-5 to the Pacific Division and were eliminated in the semifinal...Scheifele had a goal and an assist, while Hellebuyck faced 16 shots in 10 mins of work in the second half of the 3-on-3 game.

Pace for 40

Kyle Connor tallied his 25th goal of the season on Jan. 22 against Columbus and leads the Jets in goals this season...Connor has scored 34 and 31 goals in his past two seasons and is on pace for 40 goals this season...Patrik Laine (44 goals in 2017-18) is the only Jets player to reach 40 goals in a season since relocation.

January Performers

Kyle Connor leads the Jets in scoring in January with 12 points (5G, 7A) in 11 games...Mark Scheifele also has double digit points this month with 10 points (5G, 5A) in 11 games...Neal Pionk leads the Jets with 40 hits this month, while Luca Sbisa has a team best 20 blocked shots.

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (14) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Harkins, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Niku, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic

Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler

Free Agency (8) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Perreault, Schilling, Shaw

Waivers (3) - Dahlstrom, Sbisa, Shore

View More