A two game winning streak is nice. But in order to make your mark in the NHL, teams have to learn to win consistently and often. The Winnipeg Jets look to extend their streak Tuesday night as they host the Detroit Red Wings. The two teams met on November 4 with the Jets emerging with a 5-3 victory.
The line of Andrew Copp, Adam Lowry and Marko Dano were superb in Sunday night’s win over Chicago. Copp scored the winning goal while the trio were very effective in containing Patrick Kane’s line. This line has potential of being a solid third or fourth line when everyone gets healthy.
Mark Scheifele has missed the last two games but may return to the lineup. If Scheifele is good to go, expect more line juggling with Alexander Burmistrov being the odd man out.
Toby Enstrom doesn’t get enough credit for his steady play but his performance on Sunday was downright heroic.
#NHLJets Enstrom played the final 3:40 of the game, including the penalty kill for the final 2:49.
— Rick Ralph (@RickRalphTSN) December 5, 2016
Enstrom is often under-appreciated because he’s not a high point producer nor is he the most physical defenceman. But he is an intelligent puck mover who is sound positionally. He provides a nice balance to Jacob Trouba who will jump up in the attack zone when a scoring opportunity arises.
Connor Hellebuyck loves playing against Chicago. The rookie netminder stopped 25 out of 26 shots, including some spectacular saves late in the third period to preserve the win. The question is can he follow up that performance? After Hellebuyck blanked the Blackhawks on November 15, he turned in a mediocre performance two nights later in Philadelphia. The Jets are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
Henrik Zetterberg is like the old Energizer bunny. He just keeps going and going. The 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner leads the Wings with 19 points (6G, 13A) and is second with a 50.1% Corsi. (The Wings aren’t a good puck possession team.) Recently, the Wings have put promising youngster Anthony Mantha with Zetterberg in the hopes that the wily veteran can teach the young pup some new tricks.
Remember when I said the Wings aren’t a good puck possession team? Well, none of their d-men are above the 50% Corsi mark. (Xavier Ouellet leads the Wings blueline with a 49.0% Corsi.) The Wings D is vulnerable to speedy and strong possession teams that can hem the Wings in their own end for a considerable amount of time. The Jets will need to apply possession with a dose of physicality to gain the upper hand on Detroit. It worked last month and here’s hoping it works again.
Petr Mrazek is the likely starter. His numbers aren’t anything special (2.84 GAA, .907 save percentage) but he’s the best the Wings have right now. Jimmy Howard is on IR with a groin injury while rookie Jared Coreau struggled in his first NHL start on Saturday, surrendering 4 goals on 36 shots for a .889 save percentage.
Game Prediction: Calling it here. The Jets extend their win streak to three games with a 5-3 win.
Obvious Prediction: Steve Ott will do something to make the Jets mad. Because Steve Ott.
Not So Obvious Prediction: Nikolaj Ehlers has been snake-bitten lately, scoring only once in his last 14 games. He breaks out of it here by scoring twice.