Jets Weekly: Laine, Niku, Road Trip & More

Welcome to Winnipeg Jets Weekly, where you can catch up on the past week of Jets’ hockey. From hot topics to news and notes, this is where you can find all things Jets related throughout the 2019-20 season.

Winnipeg Jets Weekly

The Jets are starting to play with some consistency and the results are showing. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and they are playing some solid hockey away from Bell MTS Place this season with a 7-3 road record. Staying in the fight has been this team’s motto all season long and they have been able to do just that with 11 of their 21 games being decided by one goal.

Related: Jets Weekly: Little, Heinola, Line Shuffling & More

Things did not start the best for the team this week with a 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. They struggled to create high-danger scoring chances and got shutout by goaltender Adam Werner who was forced to make his NHL debut after the original starter (Pavel Francouz) got injured just 31 seconds into the game.

The Jets were quick to bounce back, however, sweeping the state of Florida with a pair of 4-3 wins against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning just came off a 9-3 win over the New York Rangers two days earlier making the Jets’ win on Nov. 16 that much more impressive.

Laine Rounding Out His Game

Patrik Laine is doing a lot more than just scoring goals this season and it really goes to show what experience and maturity can do for a young man’s game. He has registered 14 assists in 19 games played (he had 20 all of last season). He has already registered 29 hits – which is projected to smash his previous season-high of 80 in his first season. He is averaging 19:08 of ice time per game which is a career-high to this point. He only has two penalty minutes thus far after he struggled with this last season, registering a career-high 42 penalty minutes.

Laine surpassed the 200-point mark for his career and he is contributing points at even-strength, something we are not used to witnessing in recent seasons. So far, 13 of his 18 points have come at even-strength – the result of him playing solid hockey in all areas of the ice and earning more trust from head coach Paul Maurice.

Laine, along with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers are starting to form a lot of chemistry on the top line. They are starting to hit on all cylinders and have combined for 11 points over the last five games. Maurice’s line changes have been paying off thus far and he has Laine playing his most complete hockey in a long time. Sure, the goals are lacking right now, but they will come. He has done a lot of good things away from the puck to make up for that and his assists are starting to pile up – he currently sits 21st in the NHL in assists.

Niku Dominating the AHL

Sami Niku has been making a lot of news lately for his strong play in the American Hockey League and his lack of presence in the NHL with the Jets. Many people, myself included, are wondering why this guy is not in the big league right now giving the Jets’ backend a big boost.

Maurice and Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent like what Niku has been doing in the AHL and Maurice feels the Jets do not need a shakeup on their backend at the moment. I can reason with this side to the situation but I do not think adding Niku to the Jets’ lineup will ‘hurt’ anything they have going for them and in fact, could make things even better.

Niku will get his shot with the Jets eventually and I think it will be sooner than later. In my opinion, this will be the last time we see this. His next call up will be his last as I believe he sticks with the Jets from that point going forward. He currently has 12 points in 12 games played with the Moose thus far.

Jets Start Road Trip Hot

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Jets came away with wins against the Panthers and Lightning to start their road trip. Their continued success on the road so far this season has been a pleasant surprise considering they have played .500 hockey on the road while dominating at home in previous seasons.

Winnipeg Jets Calgary Flames NHL Heritage Classic
The Winnipeg Jets are playing some of their best hockey away from Bell MTS Place. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

The Jets’ 7-3 away record is one of the best in the league at this point. It will surely be tested in the coming week, however, with a couple of tough Central Divison matchups against the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars. The Jets are currently 3-1 against Central Division teams but that record will also be tested throughout the rest of 2019. Seven of their next 19 games throughout November and December are against teams within their own division.

A Look at the Week Ahead

The Jets will continue their road trip into Nashville on Nov. 19 when they take on the Predators for the first time this season. The Jets and Predators have turned into one of the best rivalries in the NHL over the last couple of seasons so it will be great to see that get rekindled on Tuesday. They are two teams that clearly do not like each other and they always play hard-nosed, action-packed games – be sure to tune in for that one!

Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne
The Jets and Predators will renew their rivalry when they face each other on Nov. 19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

The Jets play five of their next six games on the road which looks like a good thing at this point. Their lone home game during that stretch comes on Saturday, Nov. 23 when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bell MTS Place.

Related: Jets Should Target Travis Hamonic

Thank you for reading this week’s edition of ‘Jets Weekly’. Stayed tuned for next week’s edition and as always, feel free to leave any feedback or questions you may have in the comment section below, or follow me on Twitter @Goet91.