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Game #54 Preview: Boston Bruins at Winnipeg Jets

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Yes, I know the picture is outdated, but those crowd reactions are priceless.
Yes, I know the picture is outdated, but those crowd reactions are priceless.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Your Winnipeg Jets take on the Boston Bruins who, though no longer the beasts of the east, are still formidable enough to be in the playoff picture. The Winnipeg Jets will miss the services of Adam McQuaid, while Boston can say the same about Ondrej Pavelec.

Catch the game tonight, 7:00 PM Central Time on NESN, TSN3 and TSN 1290.

It's a Numbers Game

Boston Bruins

Winnipeg Jets

Record

28-19-6

24-26-3

Games Played - Points

53 - 62

53 - 51

Division

4th (Atlantic)

7th (Central)

Conference

7th (East)

13th (West)

League

11th

26th

Last 10 - Streak

6-3-1 - L1

5-5-0 - W2

Goals For / Game

2.89 (3rd)

2.58 (17th)

Goals Against / Game

2.75 (22nd)

2.85 (25th)

Shots For / Game

31.9 (4th)

29.6 (15th)

Shots Against / Game

30.4 (19th)

29.7 (14th)

5v5 Corsi For %

49.4% (18th)

52.0% (8th)

5v5 Shooting %

7.55% (12th)

7.27% (13th)

5v5 SV %

92.19% (22nd)

92.92% (14th)

5v5 PDO

99.7 (18th)

100.2 (13th)

Power Play %

24.3% (2nd)

16.6% (25th)

Penalty Kill %

83.2 (7th)

76.9% (28th)

PIM / Game

12:06 (4th)

12:24 (2nd)

We're all aware of the sadness which has been the Winnipeg Jets 2015-16 season, with a record languishing at the bottom of the Central and just above Edmonton in the West.  On the other hand, Boston has both exceeded the low expectations set for them and overcome Tuukka Rask's shaky start to the season. Currently sitting in the 1st Eastern Conference Wild Card spot, theirs is the record of a decent squad, one very much helped by above average special teams. Weird how those are important.

Winnipeg and Boston are 2nd and 4th respectively in PIMs per game, so marches to the penalty box from both teams would be unsurprising tonight.

It's all for naught without goaltending

Tuukka Rask

Connor Hellebuyck

Record

19-16-5

13-10-1

ES SV%

.922%

.942%

PP SV%

.870%

.826%

The going's been tough for Connor Hellebuyck of late, with a .813 SV% effort against New Jersey, .846 SV% against Dallas and .500, three goals on six shots night versus Carolina. There's a very good argument to be made that his struggles extend far into January. With that said, he still owns an overall save percentage of .921, and posted a .955 SV% effort against St. Louis in his last outing. As Hellebuyck goes, so do the Jets; let's see if his bounceback is sustainable.

It's been a rocky season for the once-stalwart Tuukka Rask, who didn't consistently sport a season save percentage above .900 until December. Considering how downright terrible 2015-16 began for him, it's remarkable that his year-to-date save percentage has climbed up to .916. Boston is locked into Rask until 2021, and he must have given them quite the fright. At 28 years old, it's probably a little early for him to turn into Pekka Rinne, and it wouldn't be surprising if he finished the season with a save percentage over .920.

Head-to-Head

Loui Eriksson

Andrew Ladd

Games Played

53

53

Goals - Assists - Points

16-24-40

13-17-30

Power Play Points

12

8

Shots / Game

2.1

2.4

Shooting %

14.5%

10.3%

TOI / Game

19:40

19:26

PP TOI / Game

02:47

02:47

SH TOI / Game

01:57

01:57

Hits / Game

0.3

2.2

Blocks / Game

0.5

0.4

5v5 CF% Rel.

6.28%

0.00%

Most Frequent 5v5 Linemate

David Krejci

Bryan Little

Zdeno Chara

Dustin Byfuglien

Games Played

51

53

Goals - Assists - Points

7-21-28

15-18-33

Power Play Points

8

11

Shots / Game

2.1

3.1

Shooting %

6.7%

9.1%

TOI / Game

24:16

24:18

PP TOI / Game

01:31

03:09

SH TOI / Game

03:25

01:52

Hits / Game

1.6

2.8

Blocks / Game

1.6

1.2

5v5 CF% Rel.

0.04%

6.75%

Most Frequent 5v5 Partner

Zach Trotman

Jacob Trouba

Key to the Game: Winnipeg Jets

Channel some of that road momentum: The Winnipeg Jets come into tonight looking for their third straight win, which is a weird thing to write given how the season has gone. Despite a road record of 11-14-2, after that disastrous 1-5-0 homestand, a two game road respite may have been just what these players needed. Outshooting Colorado 36-32 and St. Louis 33-22, it will be interesting to see if Winnipeg can put forward an equally positive effort under the bright MTS Centre lights.

Key to the Game: Boston Bruins

Speaking of road warriors: The Boston Bruins have heard of Winnipeg's two recent road wins, and think that's cute. At 16-5-3, Boston's ability away from Rene Rancourt is a huge factor in their very real playoff aspirations. And following the Bruins' embarrassing 9-2 loss to Milan Lucic's Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, they, just like the Winnipeg Jets, might need some time away from home.

Enter their six game road trip, of which tonight is the first and where four of the opponents dwell in the Central Division. It's time to truly test that record away from TD Garden, in a stretch of games where failure probably isn't an option.

Also, try not to allow nine goals against.

Players to Boo Mercilessly

Matt Beleskey, for not being terrible. Andrew Ladd, for not having been traded yet.

Prediction

The MTS Centre hasn't exactly provided home field advantage lately, a theme which continues tonight. Under the bright lights and critical gaze of fans, the Winnipeg Jets play a soft, tentative game. Despite this, they manage to bring a 2-2 tie into the shootout, where Brad Marchand gives Boston the win.

Jets lose 3-2.


Stats, facts and automobiles provided by NHL.comNatural Stat TrickHockey Analysis and The Hockey News.