Rss

It wasn’t the best outing against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night as the Winnipeg Jets were clearly out-played. They are hoping to put that behind them as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a Central Division showdown. The Jets have struggled against lesser opposition this season, but they hope to turn the tide as they face a Blackhawks club that is right in the basement of the Western Conference.

Here’s what to watch for in tonight’s game.

1) Wheeler Chasing Kovalchuk

Blake Wheeler has been racking up the points ever since coming to Winnipeg. In fact, Wheeler is second in Thrashers/Jets all time points behind only the great Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk scored 615 points with the club while Wheeler is currently sitting at 614. Is tonight the night that Wheeler ties or potentially surpasses Kovalchuk?

It would be great to see Wheeler do it on home ice, which means he better score two points tonight or not score next game as the team travels to Minnesota. After the Minnesota game, the Jets return home for two more games so there’s a good chance Wheeler is able to accomplish the feat at Bell MTS Place.

This will certainly be something to watch for during the game with such a big milestone on the horizon.

2) Bottom six shakeup

The Jets can’t catch a break on the injury front as Andrew Copp was the latest casualty. It was Mathieu Perreault getting hurt on Sunday before Copp was taken out of the game on Tuesday. Suddenly, Adam Lowry finds himself alone on the third line as both of his linemates have gone down.

But as players go down, players also get moved up as both Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins have been recalled from the Manitoba Moose.

While the bottom six is still largely unknown, either Appleton or Harkins will draw into the lineup against Chicago. Appleton was limited to nine games earlier this year before getting injured before the Heritage Classic. Harkins on the other hand has never played a game in the NHL, but was recently named player of the month in the AHL. If anybody’s earned a shot at the NHL this year, it’s been Harkins. Hopefully he can step in and make an impact if he draws into the lineup.

3) Goaltending

It was a rough outing from Connor Hellebuyck as the Hurricanes piled five goals past him in the first two periods of the game. He was pulled at the second intermission and Laurent Brossoit came into the game for relief. To be fair to Hellebuyck, most of those goals had more to do with the team’s defending rather than his ability to stop pucks. Regardless of how the pucks went in, the man in the crease will be a major item to watch for during tonight’s game.

4) Scheifele’s Streak

It’s been mentioned a few times during recent games, Mark Scheifele has a major hot streak going on right now. He’s now extended his point streak to seven games which includes seven goals and five assists. Even more impressive is that Scheifele’s point streak is the second longest active streak in the NHL behind Jack Eichel. Although Scheifele has a ways to go before he catches Eichel’s 17 game and counting point streak.

It’s been an impressive run for Scheifele and his linemates as both Scheifele and Patrik Laine are averaging a point per game while Kyle Connor is just barely off the same pace. While Scheifele’s been rolling in the most points, the entire top line has been putting up strong offensive numbers thus far.