New year, same injury woes. Nathan Beaulieu blocked a shot in Denver Tuesday night and has a lower body injury keeping him out a month at minimum. Carl Dahlstrom will draw into the lineup to play in his first game in almost a month. The Swedish blueliner last played on December 3 at home against the Dallas Stars. With the injury, the team recalled Sami Niku from the Moose Thursday afternoon.
THE LAST HALF WILL BE A BATTLE
With the Jets playing the first game of 2020, they begin the new year coming off three huge Central Division clashes that gave a good sign of what the rest the season is going to be - a battle. Winnipeg starts the day in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference and three points back of Colorado (2nd in Central) and Dallas (3rd in Central). There will be a lot of scoreboard watching starting now.
"It's not too early to talk about it and we're going to be talking about it every day right up to the end this season," said Paul Maurice Tuesday night.
"We're going to be fighting all the teams in the West to make the playoffs."
BEST GAME AS A UNIT
Chemistry sometimes takes time to build but the Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers and Jack Roslovic line have had some big games in their short time together. The line has essentially been together since early November after Bryan Little was injured and had a huge night statistically Tuesday in Denver. They combined for nine points (3G, 6A) against the Avalanche. If you asked Paul Maurice about their performance it was a lot more than just the goals and assists they put up.
"I think that's the best technical game that line's played and maybe the best technical game those two wingers (Ehlers and Roslovic) have played in the NHL," said Maurice.
"They were stopped in the right spots; I mean they were right on."
CONNOR LIGHTING IT UP
Kyle Connor's hat trick Tuesday was his second career three goal game and put him at 41 goals for the calendar year 2019, which led the team. His 10 goals in December placed him third in the NHL for the month. His confidence is there and after a slow start to his season after missing training camp while negotiations were going on with his seven year, 49.98 million dollar contract, he looks to be heating up.
"I thought early on in the first month he looked like he missed training camp," said Maurice.
"And then he's back in game shape so I would rather suggest that's who he is and that line (Connor, Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine) when it gets into the zone, will score a lot of goals."
IN COME THE LEAFS
The Jets and Leafs play their one and only regular season game in Winnipeg this evening and the two teams will play again in Toronto next week. Toronto has really turned their season around following the firing of head coach Mike Babcock and the promotion of Sheldon Keefe and are 8-1-1 in their last ten games heading into tonight. The Leafs have won three of the last four meetings with the Jets.