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Three Storylines Heading into Jets Matchup Against Senators

Coming off consecutive losses against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets received an unexpected two-day break over the weekend due to the Vancouver Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak, and are now scheduled to take on the Ottawa Senators Monday night.

Though this contest was originally slated to occur on May 7, this scheduling change will allow both of these teams to avoid playing a back-to-back series at the end of the regular season, which is certainly ideal. Considering Winnipeg just enjoyed its longest break since Mar. 8, they should be fully rested and prepared to begin inching their way back to the top of the North Division, as they’re currently six points behind Toronto.

Here are three storylines that could impact the Jets’ sixth game of the season against the Senators:

1. Switching Up the Top-Six Forwards, Again?

With the Jets scoring just a pair of goals through two games against the Maple Leafs, coach Paul Maurice has hinted at possibly changing up the top-six forwards once again, even though these top two lines have only been together for a few games. Following the club’s morning skate, Maurice revealed there won’t be any lineup changes ahead of Monday’s contest against the Senators, however, that doesn’t mean he won’t hesitate to move players around during the game.

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While the top line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers may start the game together, there’s a chance this trio could be split up before regulation concludes. Since the team’s second line, featuring Paul Stastny, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler, has struggled to perform effectively as of late, it’d make plenty of sense to send Connor or Ehlers down to this group in hopes of providing a much-needed spark.

2. Plenty of Scoring Chances Available For Winnipeg 

Despite Winnipeg’s recent scoring woes, this could be the perfect opportunity for them to break out of this current slump, as Ottawa is considered one of the worst defending teams in the NHL. Failing to defend effectively, the Senators have allowed the most goals per game (3.71), the third-most shots on net per game (32.5), the fourth-most high-danger scoring chances (449) and the fourth-most high-danger goals (70) in the league, according to NHL.com.

Based on these metrics, the Jets shouldn’t have any issues creating a ton of havoc in the offensive zone through all three periods, applying plenty of pressure on the Senators’ netminder. Having said that, it’ll also be extremely important for all four lines to win the majority of puck battles in the other half of the rink, allowing them to create sustained pressure and numerous quality scoring chances all game long.

3. Andrew Copp Aiming to Continue Impressive Hot-Streak

Following a red-hot start to this season, resulting in four goals and 12 points through the first 12 games, forward Andrew Copp hit a wall once February came around as he scored just three assists in 12 games. Luckily for the Jets, the 26-year-old has regained his scoring touch recently, allowing him to produce seven goals and nine points since Mar. 20.

In particular, Copp set a new career-high by scoring his 12th goal of the season Friday, which also matched a career-high in points (28). With the former fourth-round selection slated to become a restricted free agent after this season, generating career-highs in goals per game (0.32) and points per game (0.74) could set him up for a very nice payday over the summer, especially since he’s currently on pace for the first 40-point season of his career.

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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Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

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Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 LW

Pierre-Luc Dubois
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

Rating: 74.6#38 C

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

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

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 69.4#145 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 LD

Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN

Rating: 71.6#74 RD

Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

Logan Stanley
LOGAN STANLEY
Dylan DeMelo
DYLAN DEMELO

Rating: 71.8#69 RD

Ottawa Senators: 

LW C RW
Brady Tkachuk
BRADY TKACHUK

Rating: 75.0#27 LW

Josh Norris
JOSH NORRIS
Nick Paul
NICK PAUL

Rating: 71.2#105 RW

Tim Stützle
TIM STÜTZLE
Chris Tierney
CHRIS TIERNEY

Rating: 72.2#77 C

Drake Batherson
DRAKE BATHERSON
Ryan Dzingel
RYAN DZINGEL

Rating: 70.2#117 LW

Clark Bishop
CLARK BISHOP
Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 72.6#66 RW

Alex Formenton
ALEX FORMENTON
Artem Anisimov
ARTEM ANISIMOV

Rating: 72.2#75 C

Evgenii Dadonov
EVGENII DADONOV

Rating: 73.1#53 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Thomas Chabot
THOMAS CHABOT

Rating: 74.5#23 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 70.5#97 RD

Mike Reilly
MIKE REILLY

Rating: 72.4#64 LD

Artem Zub
ARTEM ZUB
Erik Brannstrom
ERIK BRANNSTROM
Braydon Coburn
BRAYDON COBURN

Rating: 72.0#77 RD

Where to Watch/Listen:

The puck will drop at 6 pm CT, remember to leave work early for this one, and will be available on TSN 3 along with 680 CJOB.