The watch continues for Blake Wheeler as he sits one point away from tying Ilya Kovalchuk for the Jets/Thrashers all-time scoring lead. While it would be nice for the Jets captain to tie and surpass Kovalchuk at Bell MTS Place, there might not be a better place on the road than in Minnesota. Wheeler played his high school (Breck High School) and college hockey (University of Minnesota) in the state. Wheeler leads all active Minnesotans in the NHL in scoring against the Wild with 31 points (12G, 19A) in 36 games and has four career game-winning goals against the Wild. He's on a three-game point streak against Minnesota.
EXPECT A DIFFERENT TYPE OF GAME
The Jets played the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday after four straight games against Eastern Conference opponents but head coach Paul Maurice said the Hawks play an Eastern style of game. That won't be the case when the Wild and Jets get together today.
"I'm more interested in the grind coming back," said Maurice yesterday in Winnipeg.
"I think that's what we're going to see tomorrow. A good old turf war that Minnesota and Winnipeg plays."
COACH NOT CONCERENED ABOUT SLOW FIRST PERIODS
From an offensive perspective the first period has been the club's nemesis as they have scored only 23 goals in the opening 20 minutes this season, as opposed to 41 in the second and 35 in the third. Perhaps a slow start could have cost them against Chicago on Thursday considering the Hawks played the night before. But Maurice says he's fine with his teams starts.
"Probably a function of how we've prepared this year, grind it out, stay in the fight and that's kind of how our first periods have been." said Maurice.
The Jets haven't dropped three games in a row since back in October but that was on home ice. So in an effort to stop this mini-slide of two games they need to win to get back on track and on top of that keep the Wild back in the standings. Minnesota is 6-3-1 in their last ten and have pulled to within three points of the Jets in the Central but Winnipeg does hold a game in hand on the Wild.
WILD BANGED UP BUT PLAYING WELL
The Wild lost forward Jason Zucker to a broken leg the other night and Joel Eriksson Ek plus Mikko Koivu are question marks for Saturday morning as well. But after a crazy 8-5 win over the Arizona on Thursday night are an NHL best 13-5-4 since November 5th and have one regulation loss on home ice this season.