Ding, ding, round two. The second round of this match-up will take place in the Motor City. Following their commanding 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, the Winnipeg Jets will now attempt a series sweep against the worst statistical team in the league.
Entering tonight’s game, the Red Wings continue to sit at the bottom of the standings with their 7-22-3 record. With a win tonight, Winnipeg would become just the second team in the Western Conference to earn their 20th victory of the season. Given how Tuesday night’s game went, there’s a very good chance the Jets will accomplish that feat later tonight.
1) Another Dominating Performance in Faceoff Dot
Overall, Winnipeg has been one of the best faceoff teams throughout the league this season. Coming into tonight’s game, their team has generated the fifth-best FOW% (52.2%). Specifically, the Jets own the highest neutral zone FOW% (53.6%) in the league. During Winnipeg’s convincing win over Detroit on Tuesday, they produced a 59% FOW percentage over the Red Wings.
All four of Winnipeg’s lines were extremely successful in the faceoff circle, as none of their forwards recorded a FOW% lower than 50%. As for Detroit, their team has created the third-worst neutral zone FOW% (46.4%) this season. So, the Jets shouldn’t endure any problems commanding the facing dot once again.
2) High Pace 2nd Period
As seen during Tuesday night’s matchup, both the Jets and Red Wings have a tendency to falter defensively in the second period. Detroit allowed three goals over the final four minutes of the middle frame, which added to their league-leading total of 52 goals allowed during the second period.
Through 31 games, Winnipeg is also among the league leaders in goals allowed in the second period, as they’re tied for seventh in the league in that category. Based on the four total goals scored in the middle frame back on Tuesday, those same results are likely to occur during tonight’s showdown in Little Caesars Arena.
3) Busy Night For Connor Hellebuyck
So far this season, the Jets have received an All-Star worthy performance from Connor Hellebuyck. The 26-year-old goaltender currently ranks fourth in SV% (.933) and sixth in GAA (2.24) among qualified goalies. Despite these impressive numbers, Hellebuyck has been pestered with shots through the majority of his starts this season.
During 15 of his 23 starts, Hellebuyck has faced at least 30 shots on net per game. Meaning, the Jets’ starting goalie has faced fewer than 30 shots through just eight of his 23 starts this season. While the Red Wings were only able to create 17 shots on Laurent Brossoit on Tuesday, their team will likely muster up significantly more shots against Hellebuyck.
In hopes of avoiding their 13th straight loss, the Red Wings will come out strong and aggressive in the opening period. Detroit will likely create at least ten shots on net in the first, only to have Hellebuyck save every one of them. Following a high paced second period, the Jets will enter the third leading the Red Wings 3-1.
Despite a late goal from Dylan Larkin with just five minutes left in regulation, Hellebuyck shuts the Red Wings out through the final minutes of the game.