Now that Christmas has passed, it’s time to put down the egg nog and get back to work. With just three games remaining in 2019, the Winnipeg Jets will attempt to finish off this year on a three-game winning streak, which can begin tonight at Bell MTS Place against the @St. Louis Blues.
Coming into tonight’s contest, the Blues and Jets will play the first game of a home-and-home series that will conclude in St. Louis on Sunday. While the Jets are seeking to finish this year on a hot streak, the Blues will be looking to extend their current six-game winning streak. St. Louis also hasn’t struggled to create offensive production during this streak, as their team has produced four goals or more in five of their last six games.
1) Rough Night for Connor Hellebuyck
Aside from his shutout performance against Minnesota back on Dec. 21, Connor Hellebuyck has struggled mightily keeping the puck out of his net. During four of his last five starts, Hellebuyck has surrendered an average of four goals per game. Although, the 26-year-old goaltender has also faced 30-plus shots on net during that span as well.
While these poor results from Hellebuyck aren’t entirely his fault, they’re likely to continue through tonight’s matchup. During St. Louis’ six-game winning streak, their team has averaged 38.0 shots on net per game. Meaning, Hellebuyck will likely face at least 30 shots on goal during tonight’s game, which will likely translate into a high scoring affair from the Blues.
2) Don’t Miss the Final 20 Minutes
So far this season, both the Jets and the Blues have been two of the better teams in the third period. Currently, the Jets and Blues are tied for the second-fewest number of goals allowed (30) during the final frame. Both of these teams have also completed multiple comebacks in the last 20 minutes of games this season.
Through 37 games this season, Winnipeg is tied for the most wins (5) after trailing through the first 40 minutes of action. As for St. Louis, they’re tied for the second-most wins (4) when trailing after the second period this season. So, something is bound to give during the third period tonight. Based on these numbers above, this game could potentially be decided by one final goal during the last few minutes of regulation.
3) Strong Finish to December From Kyle Connor
Through 14 games in November, Kyle Connor recorded six goals, 15 points and averaged 1.07 points/game. During Winnipeg’s ten games this month, the 23-year-old has generated the third-most goals (5), second-most points (12) and the second-highest TOI/game (20:18) on the team. In addition, Connor has averaged 1.2 points/game this month, which is tied for second-best on the Jets.
The left-hander has also led Winnipeg in TOI during two of their previous three games. Through his eight career games against the Blues, Connor has created three goals, eleven points and has averaged 18:21 minutes of TOI as well. Connor’s eleven points against St. Louis is also the fourth-most recorded versus any team in his career. Since the Jets are slated to play the Blues twice before the end of 2019, Connor should be able to continue his impressive month.
Since the Blues have surrendered a league-best 1.83 goals/game over their winning streak, their team will hold the Jets off the score sheet until the third period. Entering the final 20 minutes, St. Louis will own a 3-0 lead over Winnipeg. However, the Jets will rally in the third by scoring four goals, the final one coming with just 32 seconds remaining.