The Wild have lost four straight regulation games, including a divisional game against the Chicago Blackhawks. To take over first in the division, the Wild will need to pick up the five points they have lost now to Chicago, which means wins against lower ranking teams. The good news for the Wild is that they are 4-0-0 against the Jets this season.
The Jets, meanwhile, have picked up points in both their east coast games this week. However, the injury bug is hitting the Jets hard, taking out four of their top six defenders, forcing the Jets to recall Brian Strait for this game. Patrik Laine continues to lead all rookies in scoring, and with the Jets all but out of the playoffs, watch for his teammates to push him towards the Rocket Richard as he sits only four goals back of the leader.
Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets
MTS Centre – 4:00 p.m. CST
Broadcast channels – TSN3, FS-N
2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 15 – Winnipeg (3) at Minnesota (4)
Nov. 23 – Winnipeg (1) at Minnesota (3)
Feb. 7 – Minnesota (4) at Winnipeg (2)
Feb. 28 – Winnipeg (5) at Minnesota (6)
Winnipeg Jets – 30-33-7 – 67 Points
Home Record: 16-18-1
Hot Players: Brian Little
Key Injuries: Tyler Myers, Ondrej Pavelec, Tobias Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Shawn Matthias
Nikolaj Ehlers – Brian Little – Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler
Andrew Copp – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Marko Dano – Nic Petan – Chris Thorburn
Josh Morrissey – Paul Postma
Julian Melchiori – Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart – Ben Chiarot
Connor Hellebuyck (expected)
Minnesota Wild – 43-21-6 – 92 Points
Away Record: 20-11-5
Hot Players: Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal
Key Injuries: Victor Bartley, Christian Folin
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter – Eric Staal – Charlie Coyle
Zach Parise – Martin Hanzal – Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart – Erik Haula – Ryan White
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Matthew Dumba
Jonas Brodin – Nate Prosser
Devan Dubnyk (expected)
1) The Wild have gone 3-7-0 in their past 10 games, which has knocked them out of first in the Central Division. No one has more than five points except for Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund. They hold home-ice advantage for the first round but would love to have it throughout. They are 23-10-1 at home this season.
2) The Central Division has always brought the best out of the Jets. They are 8-3-0 at home against their division, but two of those losses came against the Wild. They are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but they still have a chance to make some teams lives a bit miserable, as seven of their remaining games are against playoff teams.
3) Bryan Little scored his 20th goal of the season, making the Jets they only team in the league with five 20-goal scorers. They are also the only team with three 20-goal scorers that were 23 or younger when the season began. Had Little been healthy all season, he would be on pace to score 30 goals this season. His career high is 31.
Catch the game tonight at 4:00 PM local time, and comment below with your predictions for the final score.