Following a crucial 4-2 victory over the @Arizona Coyotes, the @Winnipeg Jets have now won four of their last five games and continue to fight for one of the two Wild Card spots in the Western Conference. Heading into their 71st game of the season, the Jets are once again sitting just outside the playoff picture, which makes tonight’s game extremely important.
Despite losing 3-2 against the @Edmonton Oilers back on Feb. 29, the Jets still have an opportunity to capture their third straight season series win against them. If successful, Winnipeg would also surge back into a playoff spot for the second time this week. But since the Jets don’t play again until Saturday against the @Calgary Flames, they’ll likely be sitting on the outside once again by the weekend.
1.) Lots and Lots of Scoring Chances
Despite owning the sixth-worst scoring chances percentage (47.89%) among all 31 teams in the league, the Jets should be provided with a lot of opportunities to score against the Oilers once again. So far this season, the Oilers have allowed the sixth-most scoring chances (1766) throughout the entire league.
During Winnipeg’s 3-2 loss against Edmonton last month, their team produced an impressive 41 shots on net. Since Feb. 25, the Oilers have allowed the most shots on net per game (36.6) throughout the league. As a result, the Jets should be able to replicate their offensive performance, if not improve off it, later tonight.
2.) Winnipeg’s 3rd Line Sets Tone
During their previous meeting last month, both teams were extremely physical with their checking, which led to a combined 53 hits. In total, Jack Roslovic led all Jets’ forwards with his four hits against the Oilers back on Feb. 29. With fellow third-liner @Adam Lowry back in the lineup, Winnipeg’s physicality should continue through this third and final matchup of the season against Edmonton.
Despite being limited to just 48 games this season, Lowry currently leads his team in hits (136). Unless coach Paul Maurice changes up Winnipeg’s third line, Lowry is expected to be paired with @Andrew Copp and Roslovic for the second straight game. So far this season, Copp has produced the sixth-most hits (59) and Roslovic has recorded the seventh-most hits (57) on the team. Based on these numbers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that trio set the tone for the Jets at Bell MTS Place.
3.) Continuing Reliance on Connor Hellebuyck
Without question, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been one of the most important players on the Jets this season. The 26-year-old’s performance since the start of February has also been one of the best throughout the entire league. Since Feb. 1, Hellebuyck has produced the ninth-best GAA (2.16) and the seventh-best save percentage (.933%) among all goalies with at least eight games played.
While it’s not confirmed just yet, it appears that Winnipeg will start Hellebuyck for the sixth straight game. Previously, the most number of games he played in a row was five, which he’s now done twice this season. So if the 6-foot-4 goaltender plays against the Oilers later tonight, then it would be the first time that he’s started six games in a row since the 2018-19 season.
During the opening frame, the Jets will come out strong against the Oilers by scoring the first goal of the game just two minutes into the first period. With just 30 seconds left in the first period, Blake Wheeler will score his fifth career goal against Edmonton. After an eventful second period, Winnipeg will carry a 4-2 lead into the final 20 minutes of the game. Following an empty-net goal by @Kyle Connor, the Jets will defeat the Oilers 5-3.