HEAT IS ON…AGAIN…
One loss sure makes a difference in a tight Western Conference playoff race. The Jets loss on Tuesday and Arizona getting a point in an overtime loss to Toronto means Winnipeg is one point back of the Coyotes for the final wildcard spot in the West. The Jets do hold two games in hand on Arizona, on top of that, Nashville won Thursday putting them just two points back of Winnipeg.
BOUNCING BACK FROM A LOSS
Winnipeg fired a combined 44 shots on goal on Igor Shesterkin and Henrik Lundvist on Tuesday. So while they saw their three game winning streak come to an end, the Jets didn't play that badly in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. One of the things the Jets have done well since just before the break has been putting losses behind them and moving on to the next game.
"In our stretch of hockey right now, handling the losses is equally as important as feeling good after a win," said Paul Maurice.
"So we're trying to get back on our horse here tonight."
CHANGE ON THE BLUELINE
You don't want to jinx it by saying it, but the Jets are getting healthier on the blueline. Tucker Poolman returns to the lineup after missing the last 12 games with a lower body injury and will be paired with Dmitry Kulikov. On top of that, Luca Sbisa blocked a shot in St. Louis on February 6th and missed the next three games. Sbisa comes back and joins Nathan Beaulieu on the Jets third defence pairing.
"Luca was a bruise and could have played last game but it would have been sore and you would have been worried about him not being ready the next day," said Paul Maurice.
"Tucker has gone through the window and he's kind of another guy we've been talking to the last couple of games is it the right time? You're almost waiting for the player and sometimes it's a young guy to bang on the door a little bit and say, 'It's time, I'm ready to go'".
SCHEIFELE IS DUE
Mark Scheifele is due to break out anytime now that his goal drought is up to nine games. The Jets centreman has had plenty of chances which is the reason why the coaching staff is concerned with Scheifele not putting the puck in the net. The 26-year-old has 20 shots on goal over the nine games.
DON'T OVERLOOK THE SHARKS
With just one regulation loss in the month of February, Winnipeg has beaten teams ahead of them in the standings and those behind them. The Jets lead the season series with San Jose 2-0 but won the first game in California thanks to Connor Hellebuyck's 51 saves in a 3-2 win. The Sharks are one of eight teams to fire their coach this year and are -40 in goal differential.