Rss

The Winnipeg Jets return to Bell MTS Place and are looking to get back in the win column after putting in a poor effort against Detroit in their 5-2 loss on Thursday evening. The Philadelphia Flyers are coming to town as the Jets start a three game homestand this afternoon. They will play Philly today before taking on Carolina on Tuesday and Chicago on Thursday.

With the Jets hoping to pick up a win at home, here is what to watch for in the game today.

1) Mark Scheifele

After having a relatively slow start to the year, Scheifele has picked up his play in the last few games as he’s currently riding a five game point streak. He has a whopping five goals in that span while also chipping in three assists. With this point streak, it’s now moved Scheifele into the team lead in goals with 14 and points with 32. Look for Scheifele’s hot play to continue against the Flyers as he’s the only Jet’s player to average at least a point per game against Philly during his career.

Scheifele’s goal totals have always been interesting, mainly because he scores so frequently on so few shots. Scheifele’s shooting percentage is 18.2% which is astronomically high for most players, but actually lower than each of his last three seasons. Last week, when Scheifele scored his two goals against the Ducks, he did so with only taking two shots the entire game. How’s that for efficiency?

2) Fun!

What’s the biggest difference between last year’s Jets and this year’s Jets? While most people would point to goaltending or coaching or some other aspect of the team, the real answer is humour. Apparently this group is much funnier than last year and it’s got Paul Maurice’s attention.

While those other items I mentioned like goaltending or coaching are more important to winning hockey games, there’s something to be said for humour and what it can do in a group setting. The most logical conclusion to all of this is that Connor Hellebuyck is a Vezina calibre goalie this season because of Anthony Bitetto. No, not because of his play on the ice, but because of his great jokes off the ice.

3) Kyle Connor

While we are talking about players on streaks, Kyle Connor has had a strong last few weeks as well. Connor also has eight points in the last five games, but he’s been the opposite of Scheifele with three goals and five assists. Those numbers push Connor to 29 points in 32 games this year which is good for 0.91 points per game. This is higher than last season when he posted 0.80 points per game. The really interesting thing about Connor’s scoring is that despite the points increase each year he’s been in the league, his goals per game have stayed exactly at 0.41 in 2017-18, 2018-19 and now again in 2019-20. That’s some really impressive consistency.

4) Penalty Kill

After allowing two goals against on the penalty kill from a struggling Detroit club, the Jets have moved down to 27th in the league with a man in the box. It’s been an issue all year long with the team. Even though they stay out of the box exceptionally well, when they do get a penalty it’s mayhem in their own end. The Jets do a really poor job of defending zone entries and teams can usually set up without much trouble. In addition, the actual in zone defense is extremely passive as the Jets are content to try and cover passing lanes without pressuring the puck. This results in the team relying too much on Hellbuyck to bail them out with the opposing powerplay having so much time and space to set up their attack.

The Jets need to get more active when down a man and really push the opposing team to make a play instead of waiting for them to make a move.

Bold Prediction

The Jets have been extremely strong at home in the last month and they will continue that streak today. Scheifele and Connor will continues their point streaks and the Jets will win 4-2.