CLOSING IN ON KOVALCHUK
Blake Wheeler has quietly moved within a single point of tying Ilya Kovalchuk for the most points in franchise history. The Jets captain has two goals and six assists in his last five games and has 614 points with the Jets/Thrashers franchise. The 33-year-old already holds the franchise mark for most assists with 413.
HEAVY CENTRAL SCHEDULE
The Jets just finished playing four consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents but now have five of their next six against divisional opponents. Winnipeg has recorded a 4-2-1 mark so far against their rivals and with two games with first place St. Louis, one against second place Colorado, another against improving Minnesota and tonight's battle with Chicago.
"When you are playing a team in the Central Division, I mean we play them so often these teams," said Josh Morrissey.
"We know what the game is going to look like so everyone should have a pretty clear mindset going into that game, what it's going to take to win and be successful."
Chicago played last night at home against the Colorado Avalanche so the Jets will hope to take advantage of the potential fatigue. With losses to cellar dwellers Los Angeles and Detroit this season, it's another example as to why the Jets won't be overlooking the Hawks as an easy two points.
"(Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews, they've got some good skilled players," said Kyle Connor.
"Guys who have been doing it awhile and so it definitely presents a challenge for us. We've seen them a couple of times, it's going to be a fast game. They almost play a similar style to Carolina."
INJURIES CREEPING IN…
Just as the Jets were celebrating that they were getting healthy ahead of the three day Christmas break, they lose Mathieu Perreault to a concussion on Sunday. Then Andrew Copp collides with the Hurricanes Jordan Staal in the second period Tuesday and another member of the team's third line will be sidelined with an upper body issue until after Christmas. Winnipeg has relied heavily on the third unit to take on the other team's best lines so where they go from here will be interesting to see.
"Identity. They bring something really different than the other two lines and different roles than the other two lines play." said Paul Maurice.
Wednesday the Jets recalled forwards Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins from the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. Appleton has played nine games for the Jets this season and has two penalty minutes. He has also played four games for the Moose and has one assist. The Wisconsin native injured his foot the day before the 2019 Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic in Regina in a freak accident. Also of note for him is that one year ago Friday, he scored his first NHL goal in San Jose. As for Harkins, this is the first call up to the Jets and why not considering he has 31 points in 30 games this season and was the AHL Player of the Month for his efforts in November. Appleton will play tonight on the third line with Adam Lowry and Gabriel Bourque.