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Thomas' Five Storylines - STL @ WPG

First meeting between the two teams since the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

FACING THE CHAMPS

For the first time since last April, the Jets will face the team who eliminated them from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues. The defending champions come into Winnipeg having won six straight games and have a ten point lead on the Jets in the Central, although the Jets do hold a game in hand. Including Games 1, 2 and 5 of last spring's first round series, Winnipeg has lost their last four games at home against the Blues. All four of those losses were one goal games. Let's hope they end that tonight.

START OF A TOUGH SCHEDULE

With three games left in 2019, it's fitting Winnipeg closes out the calendar year against three consecutive Central division opponents with the home-and-home with the Blues and the December 31st battle with the Avalanche.

"There is a lot of hockey left looking past these next few games. We really start to get into games within our division coming up," said Josh Morrissey.

"I feel we've had some of our best games in the biggest games and some of our best games in that Central division style of hockey."

 HELLEBUYCK GONNA HELLEBUYCK

The Jets starting netminder is coming off his third shutout of the season, a 6-0 blanking of the Minnesota Wild. The timing of that performance was perfect since Winnipeg had dropped the last two games of a three game homestand and the Jets put some distance between themselves and the hard charging Wild at the time. Winnipeg needs Hellebucyk to continue his solid play to put a stop to their three game losing streak on home ice.

SCORING FIRST PRETTY IMPORTANT

Sure the Jets have plenty of fire power on their roster to overcome being scored on first. St. Louis, however, has turned winning games when scoring first into an almost sure thing. The Blues have a win percentage of .800 when scoring the game's first goal and on top of that, they are the only team in the NHL to not lose a game in regulation after scoring first (16-0-4).

COMING OUT OF THE BREAK

The Jets are not alone as all 31 teams are coming off a three day Christmas break and now they have to take advantage of the well-earned rest they just had. It was a hectic schedule before the break and it came at the right time. St. Louis had to board a place at 7:30 this morning so that's something to keep an eye on tonight and Paul Maurice feels the Jets have to keep things simple to start.

"Don't over handle it, get everything deep, put everything at the net and make sure your shift length isn't too long," said Maurice this morning.

"The difference in a game, most games, not all. You get a feel how the game is played and it usually doesn't change a whole heck of a lot."

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