The Winnipeg Jets are keeping pace in the top-heavy Central Division due in large part to their sterling play at home.
The Jets bid for their sixth straight victory at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
Winnipeg is coming off its highest-scoring output of the season Sunday as it tallied twice during a five-minute power play and four times in the second period of a 7-3 romp over Philadelphia.
“We have some firepower up front. You put us on the power play, even though it’s not as lethal this year, for five straight minutes we’re going to generate,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters after his team went 3-for-5 with the man advantage.
Captain Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele obliged on the power play midway in the second period before Logan Shaw and Patrik Laine also scored to cap a four-goal surge in 4:17. The quick-strike offense effectively helped Winnipeg improve to 8-1-1 in its last 10 home games.
“You get a five-minute power play, you want to take advantage of it,” the 33-year-old Wheeler said. “That’s a big point in the game. They had just scored to make it 2-1, kind of riding some momentum, so that was a big moment in the game, had to take advantage of that. I thought we did enough good things, got rewarded.”
Wheeler has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 contests overall and recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in last season’s two-game season series with Carolina. He had a goal and an assist in Winnipeg’s 8-1 rout on March 8.
Scheifele, who joined Wheeler and defenseman Neal Pionk with three-point performances Sunday, has collected six goals and five assists during his six-game point streak. The 26-year-old Scheifele leads the team in goals (15) and points (35) while his 20 assists are just one shy of Laine.
Winnipeg will look to ignite its high-octane offense against Carolina, which improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games after thwarting all five short-handed situations in Saturday’s 4-0 victory in Calgary.
Warren Foegele, in fact, became the first player in Hartford/Carolina franchise history to score his first two career short-handed goals in the same game Saturday.
“We’ve been playing against some great power plays recently, so you definitely don’t want to be in the box because they’ll burn you,” goaltender James Reimer said. “We play with that confidence and commitment. So far, it’s been going well.”
It went well for Reimer, too, after he turned aside all 32 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season and seventh win on the road.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour is thrilled with what he’s seeing out of the goaltending tandem of Petr Mrazek and Reimer.
“It’s nice that we’ve got this one-two punch going,” Brind’Amour said. “You don’t have to ride one guy and you’ve got a fresh goalie in every night and I think it’s really important in today’s game.”
Mrazek has turned aside 75 of 80 shots for a .938 save percentage in three games this month (2-0-1). The 27-year-old, however, fell to 4-2-0 in his career versus the Jets after making 23 saves in a 3-1 setback in Winnipeg on Oct. 14, 2018.
–Field Level Media