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Laine, Chiarot ride point streaks as Jets prepare for Flyers

Jets carry 7-0-1 record in last eight road games into Philadelphia

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

Video: PREGAME | JetsTV Road Report

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania - In eight consecutive road games, the Winnipeg Jets have managed to pick up at least a point.

In fact, they're 7-0-1 in those games, and have won three straight to start this season-long six game road trip.

Head coach Paul Maurice also doesn't mind the travel perk that comes with facing Eastern Conference opponents either.

"I started in the East, and had no appreciation for the challenges of being in the West with that travel," said Maurice. "We're going to play six road games, we're in Philadelphia quicker than we get to the airport in Colorado. The rest part of it, you can jam a lot of games in on the road, in the situation we're in, and stay fairly rested."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

To maximize that rest, only 13 skaters took to the ice Friday at Wells Fargo Center, ahead of Saturday's tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Dmitry Kulikov wasn't one of those, and Maurice says the defenceman will miss tomorrow's matinee against the Flyers with the upper-body injury he sustained in the win over New Jersey. Joe Morrow (who practiced today) will slot into the line-up.

Ben Chiarot was also one of those participating in practice today, the only defenceman who played against the New Jersey Devils to skate Friday.

The 26-year-old has one of the hottest sticks in the dressing room right now. He assisted on Joel Armia's 11th of the season last night in New Jersey, extending his own personal point streak to five games (one goal and four assists).

Two nights earlier, it was Chiarot leaving a drop pass for Patrik Laine against the Rangers. Laine added another goal against the Devils to extend his point streak to 10 (14 goals, 20 points).

"I've always said that when I'm at the top of my game, I'm using my skating, I'm getting up in the play, moving my feet, and getting physical," said Chiarot, who has 11 total points this season. "I found I'm in a good rhythm doing that, and just playing on my toes. Good things are happening for me.

"It's always fun to help set up goals or score goals. Offence is always fun. When the team is playing well, and we're getting a lot of O-zone time in the other team's end, those things are going to happen."

Video: PREGAME | Ben Chiarot

Chiarot started the season out of the line-up, but has impressed Maurice with his play not just during his point streak, but for a while. He believes the key lies in being "comfortable being uncomfortable."

"I think defenceman cross a threshold at some point in their career, where they truly believe they belong…. They find their game, and they know what they're trying to bring every night," said Maurice.

"That physicality gets him to the right energy level, the right pace. Then he's up the ice a bit more, his feet are moving a bit quicker, the timing of the rest of the game falls in place for him. It started with a real strong, heavy game that he brought after coming out."

Sitting second in the Central Division at 41-17-9, the Jets are used to playing in tight games. They've had two, one-goal games through three games on this trip already. Overall, the Jets are 15-3-9 in those situations this season, and when up by one after 40 minutes - like they were last night - they're 33-1-1.

Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine

"When you're up a goal or down a goal, how you play shouldn't change. I think we've handled it well so far, and it's a good teaching tool for us," said Chiarot.

"You have to play the game, play it hard the whole way, the same way the whole game. You can't, because there are 10 minutes left, think you're going to turn a switch on and play a little differently. The good teams, the veteran teams in the playoffs, they do it all year round. Sixty minutes, the same way."

The Flyers (34-23-11) are coming off back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Boston, slipping to third in the Metropolitan Division as a result.

But Maurice believes the quality of opponent in those games had a lot to do with those results.

"Those are all high-end team losses, tight games," said Maurice. "We've looked at this road trip as one where the competition would get stronger as we went. Last night we got outshot, and I think out chanced in that game. We're going to see more of the same in terms of what they do off the rush with their speed and their zone time.

"A couple of places in our game weren't very good last night and it caused us some problems. At the same time, we're a decent offensive team. We just have to make good on our chances and work real hard to make sure we don't give a whole lot up."

After earning his 35th win of the season against the New Jersey Devils to set a new franchise record, Connor Hellebuyck will once again get the call in goal for the Jets against the Flyers.

Video: PREGAME | Toby Enstrom

ICE CHIPS

The progress continues for the injured Jets.

Mark Scheifele (upper-body) didn't skate Friday, and won't play Saturday, but Maurice said the centre is "improving."

Adam Lowry (upper-body) was still in a non-contact jersey Friday, but is slowly taking some controlled contact.

"We've added small steps of physical confrontation, right now he's in control of it. He's the one leaning on guys. The next stage will be for them to lean on him a little bit," said Maurice, adding Jacob Trouba (lower-body), now practicing in a regular jersey, could return soon.

"We're pushing him as hard as we can. I don't have him on this road trip, but if he continues to go the way he is, as soon as we get back he'll be a player for us."

Goaltender Steve Mason's lower-body injury is one that came up during the shutout win over the Rangers.

"We don't think it's significant right now," said Maurice. "It doesn't feel right to him. We're going to get as many tests as we need to to get it cleared up."

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Today's Game

The Winnipeg Jets play the fourth game of a season-high six-game road trip today against the Philadelphia Flyers...The Jets are 3-0 on the trip after wins against the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils...Following tonight, the road trip continues against the Washington Capitals on Monday.

Jets vs. Flyers Notes

- The Jets have won back-to-back games against the Flyers after enduring a six-game losing streak to Philadelphia (0-4-2) from Nov. 29/13 - Nov. 17/16.
- Winnipeg is 3-for-31 (9.7%) on the power play in its last eight games against the Flyers.
- The Jets are 10-for-11 (90.9%) on the penalty kill in their last four games against the Flyers.
- Winnipeg has outshot Phildelphia in six of the last seven meetings.

Getting Streaky

The Jets extended their winning streak to four games with Thursday's win against the Devils, which matches a season-high from Nov. 11-18...Unlike November when one of the wins came in a shootout, all four victories in this streak have come in regulation...The Jets also have six three-game winning streaks this season.

Marching Forward

The Jets are 4-0-0 to start the month of March...The Jets also had a strong March last season, going 8-5-1 in 14 games...Since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011, the Jets are 43-40-10 in the month of March...Newcomer Paul Stastny leads the Jets with 116 points (36G, 80A) in 139 career games in March, while Mark Scheifele has 43 points (19G, 24A) in 49 games in March during his career.

Facing the East

The Jets are 15-6-5 against the Eastern Conference this season, including a 9-3-2 record versus the Metropolitan Division...Winnipeg has won six consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams and 10 of their last 11 games against the East dating back to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Dec. 29/17...Winnipeg is in the midst of six consecutive games against the East...Of the seven road games Winnipeg has left, five are against an Eastern Conference opponent...Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 32 points (8G, 24A) in 25 games against the Eastern Conference, which is sixth among Western Conference players.

Special Time on the Road

After losing back-to-back road games on Jan. 12 at Chicago (2-1) and Jan. 13 at Minnesota (4-1), Winnipeg has a point in eight consecutive games away from home (7-0-1) and are on a franchise record five-game road winning streak...With 17 wins, Winnipeg is three wins away from tying the franchise record for most road wins in a season...The Jets are 38-for-41 (92.7%) on the penalty kill in their last 13 games on the road and have killed 18 consecutive shorthanded opportunities away from home...In those same 13 games, the Jets are 10-for-33 on the power play (30.3%).

Laine's World

After being named the NHL's second star of the week on Monday, Patrik Laine has continued his torrid pace with four goals in his first two games this week...Laine extended his point streak to 10 games (14G, 6A) with a goal on Thursday...He has 39 goals this season, which is second in the NHL, and 75 goals in his first two seasons, which leads the NHL since the start of last season...Laine's 75 goals as a teenager is tied with Sidney Crosby for fourth-most in NHL history...Only three Finnish-born players have scored 40 goals in a season - Teemu Selanne (seven times), Jari Kurri (seven times) and Tomas Sandstrom (twice). (The last time was Selanne's 48 goals during the 2006-07 season)...And finally, Laine has scored eight of Winnipeg's 13 goals during its current four-game winning streak.

Wins Record

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck set the franchise record for most wins in a season with his 35th victory on Thursday in New Jersey...He passed Kari Lehtonen, who won 34 games in 68 appearances for the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2006-07 season, while Hellebuyck won his 35th game in his 55th appearance...Hellebuyck's 35 victories are the third-most in the NHL this season...With Thursday's win, he improved to 12-2-4 versus the East in 2017-18 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

Immediate Impact

Since being acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 26, Paul Stastny has six points (2G, 4A) in his first five games as a member of the Jets, including two multi-point games...He's had the primary assist on three of Laine's last five goals and he and Laine have combined for five of the six goals Stastny has been in on with the Jets...The duo have been playing on a line with Nikolaj Ehlers and have combined for 23 points (12G, 11A)...The threesome is Winnipeg's top three scorers since Feb. 26.

Benny and the Jets

Defenceman Ben Chiarot had an assist on Thursday to extend his career-high point streak to five games (1G, 4A)...His assist also set a new career-high assist streak at three games...Prior to this point streak, Chiarot had gone eight games without a point.

Jets vs. Flyers All-Time Records

Overall: 18-33-9
At Bell MTS Place: 5-2-2
At Wells Fargo Center: 8-17-4

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