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Three Storylines Heading into Jets Back-to-Back Series Against Senators, Oilers

Following a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, the Winnipeg Jets improved to 3-1 through four games and are now preparing to endure an extremely busy weekend, as they’re scheduled for their second back-to-back series in less than a week.

Due to the shortened and compacted 2020-21 campaign, the Jets will be forced to play against these same Senators for the third straight game and are slated to welcome the Edmonton Oilers to town just one day later. Nevertheless, this team will be aiming to continue its current two-game winning streak and are hoping to enjoy a successful weekend.

Here are three storylines that could impact the Jets’ back-to-back series against the Senators and Oilers:

1. Patrik Laine is Leaving Winnipeg 

Despite being placed on the injured reserve on Friday, the Jets agreed to send forward Patrik Laine to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois on Saturday. While the 22-year old would’ve missed this weekend series anyway, his departure, along with Dubois’ upcoming 14-day quarantine, leaves a massive hole on the club’s second line.

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Since Laine is heading to Columbus, it’ll be crucial for the team’s top line – which includes forwards Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Kyle Connor – to continue carrying the offensive load during this next stretch of games. Along with the first line, it’d also be extremely beneficial for teammate Nikolaj Ehlers, who’s scored two goals and four points through four games, to maintain his current production level with the Finnish goal scorer moving on to the next chapter of his career.

2. Power Play Remains Ice Cold 

Without question, not having Laine on the ice has undoubtedly impacted Winnipeg’s power-play units in a negative way, although that doesn’t completely excuse their horrible results with the man advantage so far this season. Through four games, their power play has converted on just two of their 20 opportunities, providing them with the fifth-lowest conversion rate (10.0%) among all 31 teams in the league.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that the Jets can’t afford to continue failing when their opponent heads to the penalty box. Since the Senators are currently tied for the second-most penalties (27) committed this season, Saturday night’s matchup should serve as another chance for this roster to turn their current woes around, especially since they were provided seven power-play opportunities on Thursday.

3. Dylan DeMelo Makes Season Debut

Starting the regular season on a positive note, although his strong showing wasn’t on the ice, defenseman Dylan DeMelo and his wife welcomed a new child into the world just before the puck dropped on the 2020-21 campaign. As a result, the 27-year old blueliner has missed the first four games of the season, but he’s slated to participate in his first game on Saturday night against the Senators.

Considering DeMelo quickly became a key part of this defensive group during his brief time last season, where he recorded 14 blocks, 11 hits, 10 shots on net, and one takeaway, he should provide a massive boost on the blue line moving forward. With the 6-foot-1 defenseman returning to action, teammate Ville Heinola – who performed extremely well on Thursday in his season debut – will lose his spot in the lineup as he’s been assigned back to the taxi squad.

Lineups: 

Winnipeg Jets:

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LW C RW
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 79.5#5 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 76.8#19 C

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Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

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Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 C

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

Jansen Harkins
JANSEN HARKINS
Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 69.2#149 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.5#123 RW

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 71.1#96 LW

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 C

Kristian Vesalainen
KRISTIAN VESALAINEN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 LD

Dylan DeMelo
DYLAN DEMELO

Rating: 71.8#69 RD

Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

Logan Stanley
LOGAN STANLEY
Nathan Beaulieu
NATHAN BEAULIEU

Rating: 72.1#72 RD

Ottawa Senators: 

LW C RW
Brady Tkachuk
BRADY TKACHUK

Rating: 75.0#27 LW

Josh Norris
JOSH NORRIS
Drake Batherson
DRAKE BATHERSON
Alex Galchenyuk
ALEX GALCHENYUK

Rating: 70.8#115 LW

Derek Stepan
DEREK STEPAN

Rating: 72.7#67 C

Evgenii Dadonov
EVGENII DADONOV

Rating: 73.1#53 RW

Nick Paul
NICK PAUL

Rating: 71.2#105 LW

Chris Tierney
CHRIS TIERNEY

Rating: 72.2#77 C

Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 72.6#66 RW

Cedric Paquette
CEDRIC PAQUETTE

Rating: 70.7#118 LW

Colin White
COLIN WHITE

Rating: 70.3#129 C

Austin Watson
AUSTIN WATSON

Rating: 69.1#140 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Thomas Chabot
THOMAS CHABOT

Rating: 74.5#23 LD

Erik Gudbranson
ERIK GUDBRANSON

Rating: 71.3#77 RD

Mike Reilly
MIKE REILLY

Rating: 72.4#64 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 70.5#97 RD

Braydon Coburn
BRAYDON COBURN

Rating: 72.0#77 LD

Josh Brown
JOSH BROWN

Edmonton Oilers: 

LW C RW
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS

Rating: 77.4#11 LW

Connor McDavid
CONNOR MCDAVID

Rating: 82.7#5 C

Zack Kassian
ZACK KASSIAN

Rating: 71.2#94 RW

Dominik Kahun
DOMINIK KAHUN

Rating: 72.5#69 LW

Leon Draisaitl
LEON DRAISAITL

Rating: 86.1#1 C

Kailer Yamamoto
KAILER YAMAMOTO

Rating: 73.5#47 RW

Tyler Ennis
TYLER ENNIS

Rating: 71.4#90 LW

Kyle Turris
KYLE TURRIS

Rating: 71.6#99 C

Jesse Puljujarvi
JESSE PULJUJARVI
James Neal
JAMES NEAL

Rating: 71.7#82 LW

Devin Shore
DEVIN SHORE

Rating: 69.6#141 C

Josh Archibald
JOSH ARCHIBALD

Rating: 71.2#95 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Darnell Nurse
DARNELL NURSE

Rating: 74.1#30 LD

Ethan Bear
ETHAN BEAR

Rating: 71.8#66 RD

Kris Russell
KRIS RUSSELL

Rating: 70.1#115 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 75.3#21 RD

Slater Koekkoek
SLATER KOEKKOEK

Rating: 71.3#78 LD

Adam Larsson
ADAM LARSSON

Rating: 71.1#88 RD

Where to watch/listen:

The puck will drop at 9 pm CT on Saturday and 8 pm CT on Sunday. The first game of the back-to-back will be available on CBC and Rogers Sportsnet. The second game will be shown on TSN 3. Both games can be heard on 680 CJOB.