We’re finally at the end of preseason hockey and even with a less than ideal record of 2-3-1 (remember kids, records in preseason don’t actually mean that much) Jets fans are feeling pretty good about things having seen the team sign both Patrik Laine to a bridge deal and Kyle Connor to a long term contract over the last 48 hours.
That’s kind of distracted us all from the sub-par preseason results that have included two games where a lead was carried into the third period, only to see it disappear and end up in a loss. Again, yes it’s only preseason hockey and the full roster isn’t set, but given the issues the Jets had with that last season, it’s not exactly encouraging.
Speaking of full roster, the Jets go to Minny today not quite having the full roster thanks to 29 and 81 needing to get back to Winnipeg and such, but it’s pretty darn close as Paul Maurice said it would be a few days ago.
Here is your Jets lineup for today:
Josh Morrissey is back in the lineup after that third period injury scare against Calgary on Tuesday night. For better or worse, that’s likely your opening night defense for the Jets. Ville Heinola of course has been the talk of camp and this sure feels like prep work for New York than it does one final game before a trip to the AHL or Europe. Tucker Poolman as mentioned in the takeaways from Thursday’s game has also likely earned his way into the lineup.
Can you imagine this defense with Dustin Byfuglien in it over Anthony Bitetto? We’d be on to something then…
At forward, Joona Luoto and David Gustafsson will get another game in, but it sure feels like Paul Maurice has his mind set on keeping Gabriel Bourque and Mark Letestu in the lineup over them which is a bit of a shame as neither Luoto or Gustafsson have done anything to play themselves out of a roster spot outside of not be veteran-y enough like BORK and Mustard are.
We’ll likely get one more run of Nik Ehlers with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. After all, there is no way we’ll have gone through all this BS with Laine only to see him back on a line with Bryan Little and Mason Appleton, right?
On the Minnesota Wild end of things, we have this…
As always, follow us on Twitter and once lines are formed and tweeted out, we’ll pass those along.
As far as three things we all should be looking for today?
1 – Get a lead, hold on to it
As we’ve well established, preseason records don’t really amount to anything, but closing out a win would sure be nice. Even nicer still would be to see this near complete NHL club get a lead after 40 minutes of play and then hold onto it through the final 20 if for no other reason that to just establish that as a habit as opposed to the other thing they’ve been doing with the whole giving up goals and losing leads bit.
2 – Goalie grind
Looks like we’ll get a couple of periods of Connor Hellebuyck starting and then maybe a period of Laurent Brossoit in relief. Chances are Hellebuyck plays in New York on opening night with Brossoit in Jersey the following night, so it’ll be good to get both some action.
For Brossoit, he’s had a strong preseason compared to Hellebuyck who has let in a total of nine goals in both games he’s played. Again, we hope for a slightly better Hellebuyck sighting.
3 – Stay healthy
We’ve seen Mathieu Perreault dinged up, Nikolaj Ehlers has taken a few bumps already, Morrissey missed the third on Thursday. The first two things I just covered are important, but none more so than staying healthy and if that means going through the motions, letting a check go by or giving up on a play in the corners to stay on the safe side of things, I think we’d all rather see that than see a player miss regular season time with an injury suffered in the preseason.