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Game One Preview: Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

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Sixteen wins until the Cup. I can almost taste it. Definitely not being premature here.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot (7) keeps the puck away from Minnesota Wild right wing Nino Niederreiter (22) in first period action at Bell MTS Place.
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Where to watch/listen

Broadcast Schedule
Broadcast Schedule
Time: 6:00 P.M. CDT
TV: SN, TVAS2, CNBC, FS-N
Radio: TSN1290

Eighty-two games have come and gone, and now the only thing that matters for the Winnipeg Jets is beating the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-seven series. Having the second best record in the NHL only matters in that the Jets have home-ice advantage in this series.

Connor Hellebuyck’s 44 wins? No longer matter. Blake Wheeler tying for top assist getter in the NHL? Yesterday’s news. It all begins tonight.

The Winnipeg Jets are playing a playoff game for the ninth time in their history. The previous eight times have not gone so well. Is this year going to be different?

Well, it better be.

Because forget what I said about forgetting everything: this team has proven itself to be a good team this year, and if all of the numbers are any indicator, the Jets should more than hold their own against the Wild.

The two teams met four times this season, with Winnipeg coming away with a 3-1-0 record to show for it.

How do the teams stack up? Let’s take a look!

Tale of the Tape

Winnipeg Jets Stats Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets Stats Minnesota Wild
52-20-10 Record 45-26-11
114 Points 101
2nd Central Division 3rd Central
2nd West Conference 4th West
5-0-0 Last 5 2-2-1
277 Goals For 253
218 Goals Against 232
Patrik Laine (44) Goals Eric Staal (42)
Blake Wheeler (68) Assists Mikael Granlund (46)
Wheeler (91) Points Staal (76)
Connor Hellebuyck (44) Wins Devan Dubnyk (35)
Hellebuyck (2.36) Goals Against Average Dubnyk (2.52)
Hellebuyck (.924) Save Percentage Dubnyk (.918)
23.4 (5th) Power Play % 20.4 (18th)
81.8 (9th) Penalty Kill % 81.2 (13th)
3-1-0 Season record between 1-3-0
17-16-1-2 Overall record (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) 18-13-1-4

Enemy Territory

Minnesota Wild Coverage: Hockey Wilderness

Last Game:

Winnipeg Jets 4-1 Chicago Blackhawks

Connor Hellebuyck set the NHL record for wins in a season by an American goalie (44), and tied the NHL record for wins in a season at home (30).

Minnesota Wild 6-3 San Jose Sharks

Minnesota sunk San Jose’s chances of having home ice advantage in the first round.

Players to watch:

Winnipeg Jets

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Patrik Laine finished his sophomore season with 44 goals, good for second in the NHL. He also finished the season with just two points in his last 10 games, though those two points came in the last three games. It is possible the blocked shot injury he suffered is hampering his abilities, and hopefully his recent points indicate he is better healed now.

Minnesota Wild

NHL: Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Staal’s 42 goals this year is the second most in his career, as the eldest Staal brother has seen a career rejuvenation in his two seasons in Minnesota. Staal has 141 points in 162 games in green, and he’ll need that production to continue on into the playoffs. He only managed one assist in five playoff games last year, as the Wild only managed eight goals in five games.

Editor’s Note: I “borrowed” this template from Matchsticks & Gasoline, because I thought it was neat