Back-to-back. Three words that Winnipeg Jets fans hate to hear. Especially when it's against the Minnesota Wild, a divisional rival that you are chasing to get back into the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Jets are nine points back of Minnesota and two points back of Nashville and Colorado, who both hold the final two playoff spots in the conference.
We have reached the point in the season where we can't afford any three point games against divisional opponents. Sure, you could say that since the beginning of the year, but now that we are coming down to the wire the Jets need to know where they stand in the playoff picture by the time the trade deadline hits in February. There is no better way to figure this out by winning cleanly against fellow central division teams that you are trying to leap frog in the standings.
With this being a back to back, Michael Hutchinson should be the goaltender tonight. I know I said the same thing yesterday, but now it has to happen. Goalies are historically not great on back to back games, and Connor Hellebuyck, a rookie, is not immune to falling victim to this trend.
Nikolaj Ehlers had a great game last night against the Nashville Predators, scoring a goal on a breakaway in the third. I think like Mark Scheifele before him, he will soon start finding the net more consistently late into the season. Let's just hope he doesn't get injured like Scheifele did. He currently sits thirteenth among rookies in point totals.
Long time Wild player Mikko Koivu is currently leading the team with thirty three points. Meanwhile Zach Parise leads the team in goals with sixteen. Devan Dubnyk sits seventeenth among goalies with a .920 Save percentage and a 2.32 GAA.
These games against the Wild tend to get very physical so expect Minnesota to come out with a fire in their belly with the home crowd on their side and cheering them on. Both teams will probably want to try their best to keep their heads cool and avoid taking any penalties. Neither teams power play is very special and there success on the penalty kill is nearly identical as well.
Back to back curse continues and the Jets fall 3-1.