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Jets close out preseason in Minnesota

Michael Hutchinson gets third start of preseason

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 / WinnipegJets.com

JetsTV Road Report

JetsTV Road Report

Mitchell Clinton tees up the preseason matchup between the Jets and Wild

  • 01:59 •

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets will look to end the preseason on a winning note tonight when they take on the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

A win tonight would be the fifth of the preseason for the Jets, and would tie the franchise record of five, which was reached in 2007 and 2003.

While these games don't count for points in the standings, they do help build chemistry. Head coach Paul Maurice has seen some growth in that area, but is hoping to see another step forward tonight.

"The Scheifele line, I can tell you is starting the season as a line, but after that, we're still putting some things together," said Maurice. "I have a very strong idea of what that roster is going to look like, but tonight's game does matter for maybe not who is in the 23, but who is in the 20 to start."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

The line of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Nikolaj Ehlers found instant chemistry last season when they were put together in late February. Scheifele and Wheeler finished the campaign with 11 and 10-game point streaks respectively, while Ehlers had points in four of his final five games.

The trio was reunited in a 4-2 preseason win over Ottawa on Oct. 3, and combined for five points.

"The big thing right now is chemistry, trying to find that chemistry back with Wheels and Nik, we're going to continue to work on that in practices and obviously games," said Scheifele. "Every game you want to get better and every game you want to build. Hopefully this is another building block going into the season."

Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele

The Jets beat the Wild 4-1 back on Sept. 29. Michael Hutchinson was in the back up role that night, but tonight, he's between the pipes for the third time this preseason.

"He's had a really good, really solid camp," said Maurice. "I think Mike has had a bit of an advantage over Connor (Hellebuyck) and (Ondrej) Pavelec. Being the third goalie at the World Cup event like that, you don't slide backwards, but you don't get into that training camp groove, and I think Mike is in it.

"He's looked good and strong, and we want to keep that rhythm going for him."

Video: PREGAME | Ben Chiarot

LATE HITS: Maurice said following the pre-game skate that Drew Stafford (day to day), Shawn Matthias (upper-body), and Brendan Lemieux (lower-body) continue to progress with their injuries.

"Matthias and Stafford, it may be as early as Monday in a non-contact. Both those two are progressing ahead of the curve," Maurice said. "With Brendan, he has to put in a certain amount of time for that thing to heal, then he'll be back and going."

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