COSTA MESA, California -- Following their first road win since Nov. 27, 2015 in Minnesota, the Winnipeg Jets are now looking to make it two road victories in a row tonight, when they face off with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Jets (18-18-2) scored in almost every situation in last night’s 4-1 win over San Jose. Drew Stafford got things started with a shorthanded goal, Joel Armia scored his first NHL goal at even strength (which proved to be the game winner), Mathieu Perreault sniped his fifth of the season on the power play, and Nikolaj Ehlers finished things off with an empty netter.
“We’ve had some really tough beats lately. Some games where we feel like we maybe deserved a better result, and at the end of the game you’re asking ‘what happened?’” said Jets forward Blake Wheeler, whose assist on Stafford’s goal was his 400th career NHL point. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We finally feel like we’re on the right side of it.”
The win improved Winnipeg’s road record to 7-13-1, though Wheeler believes the Jets have dominated in a number of games away from MTS Centre.
“You go back even before Christmas, you look at that Edmonton game and you look up in the clouds sometimes and wonder what’s going on,” he said. “I think it’s a testament to our group to stick with it. We haven’t come off it yet. It’s been a very frustrating sometimes season. We’ve stuck with it. We’re still fighting. I foresee us doing that for the rest of the year.”
Tonight’s game against Anaheim completes the ninth set of back-to-back games the Jets have played so far this season. It’s the first meeting of the season between the Jets and the Ducks, with two more to follow before the conclusion of the regular season.
The Jets didn’t hold a formal morning skate, but it is expected an announcement regarding Mark Scheifele’s status will come this afternoon. Scheifele continues to make his way back from the concussion he sustained on Boxing Day.
Maurice said yesterday that Scheifele is a possibility for tonight’s game, but that the Jets are being very cautions, and won’t put him back in the line-up unless the 22-year-old is “absolutely 100 percent.”
UPDATE: At 1:45 pm CT, the Winnipeg Jets re-assigned Matt Halischuk to the Manitoba Moose, and activated Mark Scheifele from injured reserve.
Anaheim is dealing with an injury problem of their own, as defenceman Cam Fowler is expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks with a knee sprain, suffered Dec. 27. After a 1-7-2 start, the Ducks have climbed back to a 15-15-7 record, with points in each of their last five games.
Puck drop from Honda Center is 8 pm CT tonight.
-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com