The Winnipeg Jets took care of business at home. Now they look to maintain that momentum as they kick off a four-game Eastern Conference road trip with a visit to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
The Jets wrapped up a four-game homestand Tuesday with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Seattle Kraken, their third straight win. While they’ve dominated at home, they’ve been among the middle of the pack on the road at 14-11-1.
Winnipeg is 5-5-0 in its past 10 games and hasn’t won more than three straight since a five-game winning streak from Dec. 29 to Jan. 8, a run that kicked off a run in which the club won eight of nine.
The Jets head into Thursday’s matchup in second place in the Central Division but can potentially claim the top spot with a win against the Blue Jackets. They sit two points behind division-leading Dallas but own more victories than the Stars.
“It’s exciting,” rookie forward Cole Perfetti said. “I think it’s everyone’s goal, obviously, to make the playoffs in any league you play in but then especially in the NHL, you’re trying to make the playoffs, fight for the Stanley Cup. That’s everyone’s dream, it’s everyone’s goal.
“We’re in a great spot right now, we’re playing great hockey, and it’s fun to be a part of a really successful top team in the conference. It’s awesome to be on that and contributing as a part of this team.”
Forward Kyle Connor has four points in his past three games, all assists. The 26-year-old has gone six games without a goal, his longest dry spell of the season since a seven-game drought from Oct. 17 to Nov. 13.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who missed the game Tuesday due to illness, skated before practice Wednesday and briefly during the session before leaving the ice and will be on the trip.
While little has gone right for the Blue Jackets this season, the team is finding little things to build on, including a last-second 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, in which the Devils scored the winning goal with 1.4 seconds left.
“Zero problem with the effort. I thought we played excellent,” coach Brad Larsen said. “The third period it got a little away from us as far as turnovers, the puck management, but we still only had three chances against until that goal. It’s disappointing we lost. You can look at a lot of positive signs against a high-end team in the NHL.”
Despite only four wins over the past 13 games (4-7-2), Columbus has managed to keep the games tight during that stretch, with seven of those contests ending in one-goal decisions, including victories over the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
“We want to be playing like this all season long,” star forward Johnny Gaudreau said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do that at the start of the year. It’s nice to see our team fight in these games. If we keep working hard, having fun at the rink together, getting better together, that’s what’s most important now.”
–Field Level Media