Before the Winnipeg Jets head out on the road for four straight games, they’ll have to face the impressive 10-5-2 Colorado Avalanche who sit just a single point above the Jets for second in the central division. Coming into tonight’s game, the Jets have won four of their previous five games and have scored three goals or more in four of those five as well.
Fortunately for the Jets, they’re facing the Avalanche at a very good time. Recently, Colorado has lost five of its last seven games. The Avalanche have also surrendered four goals or more in four of their previous seven games. So, the Jets should have a very good chance to conclude their current homestand by winning three out of their four games.
1) Another Dominating Night in Faceoff Circle
The Jets have dominated in the faceoff dot in two of their last three games, as their team has produced a 60% or better FOW percentage during those pair of games. Specifically, third-line center Adam Lowry has been outstanding in the faceoff circle over the past few games. In the game against the Devils on Nov. 5, Lowry generated a 65% FOW percentage and a mindblowing 85% FOW percentage against the Stars back on Sunday.
Overall, the Jets as a team own the eighth-best FOW% (51%) in the entire league. For the Avalanche, they currently own a 47% FOW percentage, which sits second-worst in the league. So, if Lowry can continue to dominate in the faceoff dot, then the Jets should have a very good chance to record a 60%-plus FOW percentage for the third time in four games.
2) Breakout Game for Wheeler
Through 18 games this season, captain Blake Wheeler hasn’t been producing at the offensive level that most people expected from him at the beginning of the season. With just ten points this season, Wheeler is currently on pace to record his worst scoring performance since the 2016-17 season.
Although, there’s a very good chance for Wheeler to break out of his current scoring slump against the Avalanche. During his 13 seasons in the league, Wheeler has scored more goals against Colorado than any other team in his career. With his 17 career goals against the Avalanche, the Jets’ captain should be favored to add to that total tonight in Bell MTS Arena.
3) Don’t Miss the First 40 Minutes
So far this season, both the Jets and the Avalanche have had the majority of their games decided through the first two periods of play. Currently, Colorado has scored the second-most goals (44) during the first 40 minutes this season. For the Jets, they have given up a troublesome 40 goals through the first two periods this season, which sits fourth-most in the entire league.
Despite three of the Jets’ previous four games extending beyond regulation, this game against the Avalanche will very likely be decided before the end of the second period. The Jets will need to significantly improve their defensive play during the first two periods, or this game won’t even need the third period to decide the winner.
The Jets and Avalanche go toe-to-toe like a heavyweight boxing match through the first two periods. By the start of the third period, the Jets are up 5-3 over Colorado with Wheeler scoring two of those five goals. Following an empty-net goal to push the Jets’ lead to 6-3, Wheeler records his first hat-trick of the 2019-20 season.