ROAD SWEET ROAD
The performance of the Jets away from Bell MTS Place has been one of the more impressive stories to start the 2019-20 campaign. 12 of Winnipeg's 23 points have come on the road and the group's confidence seems to be growing each night they step on an opposing team's ice.
"I feel we're doing the right things, we're building, but we have to continue to get better." said forward Andrew Copp following practice on Saturday.
ENJOYING NEW RESPONSIBILITY
Andrew Copp does have an offensive side to his game and he's been able to show that this season centering one of the Jets top two lines when Bryan Little was out to start the season. Now he is on one of the teams power play units and he is appreciating the chance to play with some of Winnipeg's top end skill players but still is learning the little details required.
"I know when to look for where the strong side d(defenceman)'s stick is, how high he is. Where the strong side forward is, if the weak side forward is coming on me," said Copp.
"There's a lot of little nuances that the more reps I get in practice the better I feel."
Don't look now but Patrik Laine is leading the Jets in assists with 14, he is six assists away from tying his total from all of last season and half-way to his career high of 28. Laine's is also becoming more responsible in his own end as shown by his ice-time, he is averaging 19:17 per game this season which is almost a minute and a half higher than his career best 17:55 from 2016-17. The short time with Mark Schefiele and Kyle Connor on the top line has shown bigger things could be on the way.
"They've done a good job. There is room to improve," said Paul Maurice.
"But if they can find that chemistry that maybe comes with experience, a little more experience with each other, they can score goals for sure."
As the Jets prepare to take on one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NHL they look ready for the challenge. Winnipeg gave up four or more goals five times in their first eight games of the season. They have only done that twice in their last twelve contests as the coaching staff tried to find the right defensive pairings and the forwards adjusted to the new defencemen.
Even though the two teams play in opposite conferences and see each other only twice a year, the games between the Jets and Lightning have been highly entertaining. With all the high end skill on both side they have averaged 6.75 goals per game in the last four meetings.