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Game Five Preview: Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

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Thirteen wins until the Cup! Back on home ice!

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild - Game Four
I feel like this about sums up the series at this point
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Where to watch/listen

Broadcast Schedule
Broadcast Schedule
Time: 6:30 P.M. CDT
TV: SN, TVAS2, USA, FS-N
Radio: TSN1290

Having emerged victorious from Game Four in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild, the Winnipeg Jets have the chance this evening to book their ticket to the Western Conference semifinals.

The playoff series now sits at a three-to-one advantage for Winnipeg, a feat they equalled during the regular season. However, they will be without top pairing defender Josh Morrissey as he serves a one-game suspension for his high crosscheck to Eric Staal.

With Morrissey’s absence, there was talk that Sami Niku could slot in, but Tyler Myers has returned from injury and will play tonight. Tucker Poolman also stays in the lineup.

Steve Mason left the morning skate with an apparent injury, so it may be Jamie Phillips backing up Connor Hellebuyck tonight. Or the Jets call up one of Eric Comrie or Michael Hutchinson to do the honours. I’m also available, if the price is right.

If the shot totals in game five are anything similar to what they were in game one and game two, defence may not be that grave of a concern for Winnipeg. They outshot the Wild by a combined 88-37 during those two games, and Paul Maurice’s line matching effectively negated any threat that Minnesota’s top line could generate. However, part of that was due to the play of Josh Morrissey, so it will be interesting to see how the team adjusts tonight.

Fact: since being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Connor Hellebuyck has not allowed a goal. Also a fact: being a good goaltender in the playoffs does not guarantee you success. Just ask Jonathan Quick.

This will be desperation hockey for the Wild tonight, and if it isn’t it definitely should be. The Jets should want it just as bad: going back to Minnesota is not an ideal scenario.

Immortality! Take it! It’s yours!

Tale of the Tape

Winnipeg Jets Stats Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets Stats Minnesota Wild
3-1 Series 1-3
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
Regular Season
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)
Playoffs
Mark Scheifele (3) Goals Zach Parise (3)
Dustin Byfuglien (3) Assists Mikko Koivu (4)
Patrik Laine (4) Points Koivu (4)
Connor Hellebuyck (3) Wins Devan Dubnyk (1)
Steve Mason (0.00) Goals Against Average Dubnyk (2.54)
Mason (1.000) Save Percentage Dubnyk (.929)
18.2 (10th) Power Play % 30.0 (4th)
70.0 (13th) Penalty Kill % 81.8 (7th)
3-1-0 Season record between 1-3-0
20-17-1-2 Overall record (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) 19-16-1-4

Enemy Territory

Minnesota Wild Coverage: Hockey Wilderness

Last Game:

Winnipeg Jets 2-0 Minnesota Wild

Mark Scheifele provided all the offence in a close game that saw Hellebuyck notch the first post-season shutout in Jets 2.0/Thrashers or even Jets 1.0 history.

Players to watch:

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs
Jacob Trouba

Without his regular defence partner at his side, Jacob Trouba will face extra pressure to shut down the best that the Wild have to throw at him. While his play in Game Three was not his best, Trouba has proven before that he can be very effective defensively. With this being a contract year, what a terrific opportunity to earn some extra coin, right?

Minnesota Wild

Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Four games. No goals. No assists. Six shots.

Not good enough.

Despite coming off a career high 64 points in 82 games, Jason Zucker has been largely absent in this series.

He scored 33 goals this year, but hasn’t gotten it going at all in the playoffs. Part of that is due to being shut down by Morrissey and Trouba in the first couple of games, but even on home ice Zucker has been more of an observer than a threat.