The Winnipeg Jets are back home for one measly little game against the Columbus Blue Jackets before they have to go right back out on the road for three more in California, but as explained below that might not be such a bad thing given how average the team has been in the friendly confines of BMTSP. They recently had their three game winning streak stopped in Dallas, but tonight is a good chance to get right back to winning, provided they don’t take the Jackets – who themselves are on a three game winning streak – lightly.
Home On The Road
The Jets left home ten days ago to take part in a four game road trip through Florida, Nashville and into Texas and are now back home for tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets and will get a couple of more days at home (and a chance to maybe enjoy a Grey Cup party tomorrow night) before they get right back on the road three more games in California. The next time the Jets will have an extended stay at home will be December 8 when they have a little two game home stand.
So the Jets do get to enjoy sleeping in their own beds and being in their own homes for a few days, but in a lot of ways the Jets are still on a fairly lengthy road trip with just a detour through home to get a change of clothes. The Jets if anything may want to treat this as a road game anyway since they’ve been much better on the road with a 8-4-0 record as opposed to home where they are just 5-5-1.
Saturday’s Are For The Jets
Winnipeg is 4-0-0 on Saturday games.
This really doesn’t mean anything, I just thought it was a fun little stat and an excuse for the knockoff sub-headline.
Deceptive Special(?) Teams
It’s always worth noting to keep an eye on how the special teams battle will play out in each game, but this one may surprise some people a bit. The Blue Jackets come in with a power play that ranks 20th in the NHL, but recently they have scored a power play goal in each of the past three contests and seven of the last ten played going 8-of-34 for a 23.5% rate.
The Winnipeg penalty kill meanwhile still sits near the bottom at 24th in the league, but it’s been much better in the month of November. In this last four game road trip they killed nine of the ten times they were shorthanded and has been successful 20 out of the 23 times they were a man down since the start of November.
Don’t Sleep On The Jackets
As many expected, the Columbus Blue Jackets have struggled out of the gate this season playing .500 hockey until late October to mid-November when they lost seven of eight games played. More recently the Jackets have had a bit of a nice run with a three game winning streak starting with a 3-2 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues a little over a week ago. The Jackets are led by Pierre-Luc Dubois who if you may recall was the third pick overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, right behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine. Dubois hasn’t put up the numbers quite like picks one and two or even pick six has (that would be Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk) but in his third NHL season he’s been a steady producer on offense with two 20 goal seasons.
Beyond that, there aren’t many names you’re going to recognize on this Columbus roster – it can be argued that their coach John Tortorella is maybe the most well known person on the team – but Columbus has scored five goals in each of their last two games and they are starting to find their way on offense, so the Jets can ill-afford to take this team lightly.
The Need To Get The Lead
Columbus is 9-1-1 when they get the first goal of the game but 0-7-3 when they allow the first goal. Winnipeg is a respectable 7-4-0 when they get the first goal of the game but haven’t seemed to mind being scored on first either going a respectable 6-5-1. Obviously getting the first goal is a much bigger deal for Columbus as it allows them to settle back into more of a defensive style game.
If nothing else, the Jets should at least focus on trying to have the lead after two periods. They are 6-0-0 this season when leading after two.