The Winnipeg Jets are coming off one of their best games of the season as they get ready to battle their second straight Canadian team, the Montreal Canadiens. Connor Hellebuyck will make his sixth straight start after a 28-save shutout on Monday.
The Canadiens will be looking to get back into the win column after a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. They will be doing so with Al Montoya in net, as the team gets ready for back-to-back games.
Montreal is looking to expand their lead in the Atlantic Division, which already sits at a comfortable seven points with three games in hand on the Boston Bruins. After a hot start to the season, Montreal has struggled a bit as of late, but are still a deadly team that is among the league leaders in goals for and against.
Meanwhile, the Jets are looking to get above .500 for the first time since November 17. They are riding a perfect penalty kill into this game, going 11-for-11 the last three games.
Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets
MTS Centre – 6:30 p.m. CST
Broadcast channels – SN, RDS
2016-17 Season Series: First meeting of the season
Winnipeg Jets – 20-20-3 – 43 Points
Home Record: 11-8-1
Hot Players: Nikolaj Ehlers
Key Injuries: Tyler Myers, Marco Dano, Patrik Laine
Montreal Canadiens – 25-10-6 – 56 Points
Away Record: 10-6-4
Hot Players: none
Key Injuries: Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Andrei Markov, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, Thomas Plekanec
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Canadiens have been hammered by the injury bug. They are missing big names like Gallagher, Galchenyuk and Plekanec on offense, while Markov is out of commission on the back-end. The Canadiens have been staying afloat without them, but with Gallagher, Desharnais and Galchenyuk gone for quite a while, is it time for Montreal to look for help? Their depth has held up so far.
On the Jets end, they are missing two important players in their roster. Tyler Myers has been out for a while, but should be back in the lineup soon. Patrik Laine has been diagnosed with a concussion, with no timetable given for his return. The young rookie was just named an NHL all-star.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Jets played a solid game against the Calgary Flames and will need a similar effort today against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. It’s a mistake to think they will roll over without some of their better players and with their backup goalie in net.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] How’s this for a fun stat. Laine, Mark Schefiele, Nikolaj Ehlers share the team lead in scoring with 37 points. Blake Wheeler has 33, which gives them four players with 33 or more points this season. That is only matched by the powerhouse Columbus Blue Jackets. In fact, thirteen of the 30 NHL teams don’t even have one player at 33 points. Laine (Finland), Scheifele (Canada), Ehlers (Denmark) and Wheeler (USA) all grew up playing hockey in different countries.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] These teams don’t like close games when they play each other. Nine of the last 13 games have been decided by three goals or more. Those goals have not come on the power play against the Canadiens. The Jets have not scored a power-play goal against the Canadiens since January 29, 2013. Maybe the Jets will have an advantage playing against their former backup goaltender, Al Montoya.
Judson Rempel was born and raised in the Great White North, skating on ponds and watching hockey every Saturday night in small town Manitoba. When he’s not watching hockey, he’s playing hockey with his son and daughter, and trying to convince his wife to let him watch more hockey.