TOAST TO HELLY
Considering the month that Connor Hellebuyck just had for the Winnipeg Jets - leading the all goaltenders in November in goals against average (1.85) and save percentage (.944) - it's hard to believe he wasn't one of the Three Stars named by the NHL. Edmonton's Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche, and the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane got the nod - and all were deserving.
But the Jets know how good Hellebuyck was for them considering that they were a game under .500 when November began and now are six games above the line. That doesn't happen without the lights out effort from their starting goaltender.
A constant after any Winnipeg Jets game is Paul Maurice singing the praises of the Wheeler, Ehlers and Roslovic line. Since they were put together they have put up a combined 22 points (10G, 12A) in 11 games. The trio is producing offence, making good plays in their own end and they are driving the play most nights and have been fun to watch.
Dmitry Kulikov will not play tonight (he's out until the All-Star Break with an upper-body injury) so Carl Dahlstrom will jump into the lineup for his second straight game after going almost a month without playing. Anthony Bitetto has been good for two games since he had to replace Nathan Beaulieu. It's been a theme all season long for the Jets, no matter who is back on the blueline the effort is always there.
"I like watching our defence play hockey cause they play hard," Paul Maurice recently said about his defence.
"They battle on every puck, finish checks, block shots. It's a little bit of an old school (style) and that includes (Neal) Pionk and (Josh) Morrissey."
CENTRAL DIVISION CHAOS
The Jets set a record for wins in the month of November (10) and lost just four games in fourteen contests. As good as their month was, the Jets didn't put too much space between themselves and their Central rivals as the division remains as tight as ever with six points separating second and sixth. The Jets enter Tuesday night in third spot with 33 points, the same amount as tonight's opponent the Dallas Stars.
ON THAT NOTE…
Dallas comes into Winnipeg tonight having lost three straight games following a win streak that stretched seven games. The Stars went 10-2-1 in November and like the Jets, lost their final game of the month and on top of that dropped their first game of December, a 3-2 shootout loss at St. Paul. Tyler Seguin just played his 700th NHL game and is the first player from the 2010 draft class to reach that mark, and his 606 points are the most of his class. Taylor Hall is second in points with 532 and has played in 588 career games. The Dallas centre has 10 points (6G, 4A) in his last six games against the Jets.