The odd stretch of scheduling continues for the Winnipeg Jets, after spending the last four games on the road, the Jets are back in Winnipeg tonight for a single home game before going right back out on to the road to play in Dallas a couple of days from now. All this followed a mid to late November stretch where the Jets had a four game road trip through the southeastern part of the US, then a single game at home against Columbus before heading off to Cali.
After this week though, seven of the remaining 11 games in December are in the friendly confines of Bell MTS Place where hopefully the Jets can start working on that rather sub-par home record.
Home is where the heart is, but not the wins
The Jets are a very pedestrian 6-5-1 at home this season but were at least 3-1-1 at home last month which included a 3-2 overtime win against the Stars back on November 10. Things that most hockey fans would think should make for favorable outcomes when playing at home simply haven’t been that way for the Jets so far this season. Like scoring first at home, which the Jets are 2-3-0 in Winnipeg when that happens. They’ve only had the lead twice at home after one period of play and are an even 1-1-0 in such a situation.
Meanwhile they are 4-2-1 at home when the road team gets on the board first.
A lot of things haven’t made a lot of sense with this hockey club so far, but how they play at home has been one of the biggest mysteries.
Watch out for falling Stars?
The Jets ended November on a bit of a sour note as they played awful for half a game in Los Angeles and ended up losing 2-1 to close out the month, but Dallas’ November ended just as poorly as they dropped games to the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues and then started off December on the wrong foot as well with an overtime loss in Minnesota.
The Stars PK has cooled off significantly as they’ve given up three goals in the six times they’ve been shorthanded in those last three games. The offense isn’t much better off as the team’s top three point leaders – Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Miro Heiskanen do not have any points in those three games. Jame Benn has only managed a single assist.
That said, if there was ever a time for a couple of those Stars to get hot again, it would likely be against Winnipeg. Radulov in 14 career games against the Jets has four goals and 10 assists. Seguins mastery of the Jets is even more well known as he has 24 goals and 19 assists in 38 career games against Winnipeg.
Goalies on duty
The Jets seemingly yet again will get the fortune of taking on another team’s backup goaltender. Normally this is something you’d like to see a team take advantage of, but as we saw on Saturday night – especially late in the third period – the jets can have issues solving another team’s backup tender.
Tonight for the Jets it will be 11 year veteran Anton Khudobin opposing them. Khudobin 6-4-1 this season with a .931 save percentage, but against the Jets he’s seen limited time and even more limited positive results. In four total appearances against the Jets, Anton is 0-2-0 with a .895 save percentage.
As for the Jets, it’s Hellebuyck in goal of course. Bucky has a career 8-5-1 record against the Stars with a .921 save percentage.
In the span of 26 days, the Jets and Stars will have met four times. They’ve already met twice this season – the aforementioned 3-2 overtime win in Winnipeg on the 10th and a 5-3 Jets loss in Dallas on the 21st. They’ll meet twice more this weekend in a home and home set and then won’t see each other again until March 22 for their fifth and final meeting of the season.
Did I mention the NHL schedule is odd? Because it is.