NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER
It hasn't come easy but the Jets are more than halfway through the month of November and have six wins, a regulation loss and a shootout loss. They grinded through the first month of the season and worked through all kinds of distractions, long road trips to sit in a playoff spot. They've improved team save percentage, special teams play and have continued to find new ways to win.
Heading into their first meeting of the season with the Nashville Predators, the Winnipeg Jets have won three road games in a row and are 7-3 away from Bell MTS Place. Adding to that, they just beat two very good teams in their buildings in the Florida Panthers and the high scoring Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jets are in the top three in the Central Division thanks to their performance on the road which is not something you would expect from a team who has owned visiting teams in Winnipeg the previous two seasons. That all being said Paul Maurice isn't concerned about overconfidence being a problem.
"I don't sense any arrogance in the group or that somehow it was easy. Tampa had lots of opportunities on our goaltender and we have room to improve," said Maurice.
BEAULIEU GETTING ON TRACK
After missing the first 15 games of the season, Nathan Beaulieu has played in the last six games for the Jets and has provided a steady presence on the blueline. The fact that he has played over 300 games in the NHL and the quick chemistry developing between himself and Luca Sbisa is something the Jets have needed from their third defence pairing. Beaulieu has been instrumental in improving the penalty kill and going back to last season when he was brought in at the trade deadline, he's been a good fit.
"We want our defencemen to be very aggressive, sort of take ice instead of giving ice," said Maurice.
"And he starting to get back to that quickness that he had. When he came in last year he was quick, he was a good player for us."
DEFENCE FIRST FOR WHEELER LINE
Four games into another stint in the middle of the ice, Blake Wheeler is liking the way he and his new line mates are performing in the defensive end of the ice. Yes, Nikolaj Ehlers and Jack Roslovic are speedy, talented offensive wingers but the trio has really taken their defensive role seriously and out chanced the Tampa Bay Lightning 14-9 at 5-on-5 Saturday afternoon.
"Moving to a new position, playing with a couple of young players obviously is a lot of responsibility for all of us," said Wheeler yesterday.
"You focus on that end and I think we've been using our speed to come back defensively equally as much as offensively so it's been really solid."
ANGRY PREDATORS TEAM
The Jets will be facing a motivated group in the Nashville Predators this evening since the hosts dropped a 7-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 4-4-2 in their last ten and currently sit outside of a playoff spot.