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Game #08 Preview and GDT: Winnipeg Jets at Colorado Avalanche

Jets will look to carry momentum from yesterday’s win

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Colorado Avalanche
Will noted goon Nikolaj Ehlers get into it with Tyson Barrie once more?
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a 4-1 victory last night, the 3-4-0 Winnipeg Jets will look to earn their first two game winning streak of the season tonight vs. the Colorado Avalanche.

By night's end, Winnipeg's fancy stats against the Dallas Stars weren't great, but that's what having a three goal lead will sometimes do. Luckily, Connor Hellebuyck was up to the task, and his 38 save performance served as a nice reminder of how sample sizes are still somewhat flimsy. Michael Hutchinson faces a similar opportunity for statistical improvement tonight, with Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice prioritizing keeping both goalies fresh over riding the suddenly hot hand in a back-to-back.

With all due respect for Tyler Myers, the story among Jets skaters yesterday was one of Winnipeg's star rookie forwards, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine. The former had his first career NHL goal off a cross-ice feed from Nikolaj Ehlers, while the latter scored twice on the power play for his fifth and sixth markers of the season.

If Connor can seize the top-six opportunity being provided, it'll give PoMo an interesting call to make once Drew Stafford is ready to go. Meanwhile, Laine continues to bring productivity to a PP which was absolutely anemic last season. Hopefully his presence will free up ice and attention for Byfuglien, Wheeler, Ehlers, etc. to take advantage of and join him in finding twine.

While Winnipeg has recalled Marko Dano (after placing Little on injured reserve), don't expect him to be in tonight's lineup. It would be more likely to see him Sunday against Buffalo or Tuesday vs. Washington; with both Stafford and Little injured, there was need for an extra forward on this two game road trip.

As for Colorado, they may simply be thrilled to finally face an opponent, having last played on Oct. 22. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene lead the forward corps with five points each, joined atop the stats sheet by a defenceman, savvy offseason signing Patrick Wiercioch.

MacKinnon is set to centre 19-year-old Mikko Rantanen, who is making his season debut and projects as a key piece of Colorado's top-six long-term. Try not to boo the highly touted Finn too much; he's been singing Laine's praises for years.

The Avs may appear to be heading in a smarter direction, but there's clearly still work to do. In the meantime, they can fallback on their goaltending duo of Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard. Tonight's starter in Varlamov has a 2-2-0 record, with save percentages of .821%, .925%, 1.000% and .868%. Over 20 games played, he has a career Sv% of .909 vs. the Winnipeg Jets, which is middle of the road so far as his performance against central division opponents goes.

When, Where & How

Friday, Oct. 28, 8:00 p.m. CT, Pepsi Centre
Radio: TSN 1290

Winnipeg Jets Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Patrik Laine Mark Scheifele Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers Mathieu Perreault Kyle Connor
Shawn Matthias Adam Lowry Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev Alexander Burmistrov Chris Thorburn
Left Defence
Right Defence
Josh Morrissey Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart Ben Chiarot
Michael Hutchinson
Connor Hellebuyck

Colorado Avalanche Projected Lineup

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Gabriel Landeskog
Matt Duchene Jarome Iginla
Mikhail Grigorenko Nathan MacKinnon Mikko Rantanen
Rene Bourque Carl Soderberg Blake Comeau
Joe Colborne John Mitchell Andreas Martinsen
Left Defence
Right Defence
Nikita Zadorov Erik Johnson
Patrick Wiercioch Tyson Barrie
Francois Beauchemin Eric Gelinas
Semyon Varlamov
Calvin Pickard