uggs classic tall Five keys to Jets vs
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
RED HOT GOALIES
Jets goalie has allowed only one goal in his last two games and continues to be one of the top starters in the NHL this season. Hellebuyck is seventh in the league in both goals against average (2.29) and save percentage (.926). Aaron Dell doesn play as often, making only 20 starts this season, but he 12 3 2 with a 2.17 GAA and .929 save percentage. Dell has made the Sharks barely notice that starter Martin Jones has been injured. He is 5 0 1 in January.
Three members of the Sharks Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Tim Heed made disparaging comments about Winnipeg in a broadcast promo earlier this month. While Sharks general manager Doug Wilson apologized for the inappropriate and classless comments, many Winnipeg fans would love nothing more than for the Jets to shove it down the Sharks throats. The two teams have met twice before this season, with Winnipeg winning 4 1 at home and the Sharks winning 4 0 in San Jose. Maybe a season series win for the Jets will make the winter a little less cold and dark for Winnipeg fans. They were sound in their own end in a 2 1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday and pretty good on Sunday in a 1 0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. There were some ugly turnovers in the neutral zone on Sunday but the Jets defencemen repeatedly neutralized threats. When the Canucks did manage to get shots off, Hellebuyck was a brick wall.
WHERE ARE THE GOALS?
It now four games and counting. The Jets have scored only one goal in regulation time in each of the last four games. Because they been good defensively, they have two wins and two losses over that span. In the last two games, the Jets generated plenty of offensive chances but struggled to put the puck in the net. Nikolaj Ehlers has been flying, Patrik Laine is getting lots of good looks and the Jets are putting up plenty of shots and shot attempts. You have to think the puck is going to start going in soon. The Jets have the second best power play in the league (24.9%), though they are not a strong on the road as they are at home, while the Sharks are fifth at 22.7%. Where the Sharks could have an advantage is their penalty kill, which is third best in the league at 84.1%. The Jets have been good in that area lately as well, killing 14 of the last 16 opposition power plays.
THE BIG MATCHUP
Joe Thornton vs. Blake Wheeler
Wheeler has excelled since moving over to centre to replace the injured Mark Scheifele and is eighth in league scoring with 54 points. There was a time when Jumbo Joe Thornton had those kinds of numbers, but while he currently 65th in league scoring with 35 points, he still has a strong two way game and can make life difficult for Wheeler and the Jets top line.