The Winnipeg Jets are currently Canada’s best hockey team sitting with a 19-10-2 record. They are sitting third place in the tough Central Division behind the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche. They are 13-3-2 since Nov. 1 and have not looked back since their poor month of October.
The Jets went 2-1 between Dec. 5-11 and they finished the week off with a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit stopped all 15 shots he faced in that one but had his shutout ruined by Connor Hellebuyck after having to leave the game for just over a minute due to an equipment issue. Hellebuyck faced two shots in the short span he stepped into the game and got beat on the second one by Red Wings forward Christoffer Ehn.
A new guy making the list for the first time and another guy who has not appeared for quite some time highlight this week’s edition of the “Jets’ 3 Stars of the Week” – Let’s get started with the third star.
3rd Star: Neal Pionk
Neal Pionk has registered an assist in the last two games he has played. The lone game this week he did not register an assist was on Dec. 5 against the Dallas Stars. He played the second-most minutes in a single game this season with 27:40 of ice time that game and he finished with six shots and two blocked shots.
His skating is really something to watch and he uses his speed, quickness, and edge work to evade pressure so well. Pionk was consistently engaged in the offensive zone this past week and has been all season long.
Pionk has taken over on the first power-play unit since head coach Paul Maurice shuffled things back in November. His season totals have been very impressive thus far and he has 16 points in 31 games with a plus-eight rating. Eight of those 16 points have come on the power play and he is averaging 23:05 of ice time per game.
2nd Star: Connor Hellebuyck
Hellebuyck started two of the team’s three games this week and he was outstanding once again. He stopped 36 of 39 shots in the overtime loss to the Stars and 31 of 33 shots in the 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
His current totals for the season sit with a 15-7-2 record, 2.24 goals against average, and a .933 save percentage. He has dominated this weekly column and for the second straight week, he has earned the second-star honours.
Brossoit has started looking a lot better as of late as well and could give the Jets some enticement to rest Hellebuyck a bit more so he does not get burnt out near seasons end. With that said, Hellebuyck has thrived with heavy workloads in seasons past so it may not be a huge concern anyways.
1st Star: Mark Scheifele
Mark Scheifele has been playing outstanding as of late and he finished the week with four goals. He has scored in four straight games now and he is plus-five during that span.
Scheifele scored the game-tying goal on Dec. 5 against the Stars as he racked up eight shots in that contest. He scored the game-winner against the Ducks on Dec. 8 and he finished his hot week off by adding another goal in the team’s 5-1 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday.
After a cold stretch that went the last two weeks of October, Scheifele has been dominating the score sheet. Since Nov. 1 he has 17 points in the last 18 games with 10 of those being goals. He has earned this week’s first star.
We are going to be keeping a tally on who earns player of the week throughout the 2019-20 season – first star gets you three points, second star gets you two points, and third star gets you one point. Here is our current total thus far with Scheifele jumping up into third place.
- Connor Hellebuyck: 20 points
- Nikolaj Ehlers: 13 points
- Mark Scheifele: 6 points
- Patrik Laine: 5 points
- Andrew Copp: 4 points
- Kyle Connor: 3 points
- Bryan Little: 2 points
- Jack Roslovic: 2 points
- Neal Pionk: 1 point
- Mathieu Perreault: 1 point
- Ville Heinola: 1 point
- Josh Morrissey: 1 point
- Adam Lowry: 1 point