The Winnipeg Jets are gunning for a 4-0 sweep on the road as they visit the Dallas Stars tonight. With recent victories over Floriday, Tampa Bay, and Nashville, the Jets are hoping to close out the road trip on a high note before heading back home to take on Columbus on Saturday.
As the Jets face the Stars, there’s an important two points on the line. Dallas currently sits one point back of Winnipeg for third in the division which will provide some extra motivation for the Central Division battle. Here’s what to watch for during tonight’s game.
1) Increased intensity
The quarter mark of the season has recently been surpassed and teams haven started to pick up their intensity as a result. This road trip has been much more intense than the previous games during the year. The physicality was much higher against Nashville and the games against Florida and Tampa Bay included much more intensity in puck battles and crease scrambles.
With both Dallas and Winnipeg vying for top three in the division, look for this game to be intense from the beginning. Expect physicality, scrums after whistles, and aggressive puck battles as games are starting to get more fun.
2) Ehlers goal scoring
Now sitting with the team lead in goals, Ehlers has been tremendous over the past few games. With goals in three straight games, Ehlers has been featured on the scoresheet every game on this road trip. Along with the goals, Ehlers has also been dominating possession as his line of Roslovic and Wheeler have been really strong since coming together a few weeks ago. They have routinely out-shot and out-chanced their opposition which is great news for the team. If the second line can keep rolling, the Jets will have a good shot at winning this game. Also, fun fact about Ehlers’ last goal. His 10th on the season was also his 100th for his career.
Nik Ehlers laser of a goal was both his 10th of the season and 100th of his career. #NHLJets
— Spinorama Hockey (@spinohockey) November 20, 2019
3) Patrik Laine, Star killer
It was mentioned before these teams played a week and a half ago, but Patrik Laine loves playing the Dallas Stars. Dallas is the team that Laine’s scored the most goals on during his career as he’s torched them for 16 goals and 5 assists in only 14 games. He’s averaging over a goal per game against them over the course of his career. That’s some great stuff from the Finnish superstar. Couple his great streak against Dallas with the fact that he’s averaging nearly a point a game and you get a recipe for success. Watch for Laine in this game because he always shows up when it’s Dallas on the map.
4) Minor injuries to note
The game against Nashville was rough on Blake Wheeler as he left the game after colliding with Saros in net. Wheeler did return, but got hit in the face with the puck on the very next shift and had to leave for the second time. It was purely bad luck on both occasions, but Wheeler did end up missing practice yesterday.
#NHLJets HC Paul Maurice said Blake Wheeler was given the day off but expects him to play on Thu. It was a routine maintenance day for Andrew Copp. Wheeler required stitches after taking a puck in the face. He left the game earlier after jamming his skate into Juuse Saros’ pad
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeAthletic) November 20, 2019
According to Maurice there’s no cause for concern and he was just getting a day off to recuperate.
5) Battle of the streakers
When looking at the past 10 games, both Dallas and Winnipeg have been on a roll. Dallas is 8-1-1 while the Jets are 7-2-1. When looking across the league, those are some of the best streaks going on at the moment. When looking at the Stars two losses, the one in overtime came against the Jets on November 10th as Scheifele scored the game winner. Copp and Laine were the other goal scorers and Hellebuyck stopped 25 out of 27 shots for the victory.
With both teams playing exceptionally well as of late, the next few weeks is going to be very interesting. These two play tonight, but they also play a home and home in the first week of December. That’s four meetings in less than a month. The team that comes out on top in the head to head battle will have a much stronger position as things head toward the Christmas break.