Wings-Jets Morning Skate
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Place: Bell MTS Place
TV: FS-Detroit, TSN3
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
Jets Blog: Arctic Ice Hockey
4-20-3. That’s the Red Wings record in their last 27 games and there is absolutely nothing that tells me things will be turning around anytime soon. The NHL record 17-game losing streak could be in reach, the Cap-era points total, held by the Avalanche with 48, is definitely in reach. The good news is there really is no possible way for things to get worse for the Red Wings at the moment. They are currently on pace for 45(!!!) points this year and things won’t get easier tonight vs. the Jets. Now riding an 11-game losing streak, they are coming off a hard-fought game Saturday vs. the Penguins. The very few bright spots are Dylan Larkin has 4 points in his last 3 games (still is somehow -4) and Robby Fabbri continues to produce now with 12 points in 14 games with the Wings. Eric Comrie played his first minutes for Detroit in that game as well making 4 saves in just over 8 minutes after Bernier was pulled. Look for him to get his first start with the team tonight.
As for Winnipeg, they are essentially the complete opposite of Detroit. They started the year 6-7-0, but since then have gone 12-3-2. Commerce, Michigan native Connor Hellebuyck has returned to the form that nearly won him the Vezina two years ago as he is 10-2-2 his last 14 with a .943 SV% and a 1.88 GAA. However, as has been the case against the Red Wings this year, don’t expect to see Hellebuyck as it’s a good game for the Jets to rest their ace. You could possibly credit the Jets slow start to the Byfuglien situation, one that still isn’t resolved, but clearly they are past that and back to where most expected the Jets to be. Probably the most surprising stat is Patrik Laine leading the team with 20 assists (only has 8 goals). After a year full of criticism last year, and a contract dispute that lasted up to the preseason, Laine has answered and really altered his game to provide what the Jets need. Another surprise was the throw-in prospect, Neal Pionk, in the Jacob Trouba trade. The 24-year-old has 15 points while playing being a top pair D-man the whole year. Elsewhere, the Jets have 5 players with 20+ points, led by Mark Scheifele with 29, Laine with 28, Kyle Connor with 26 and Nikolaj Ehlers with 23. Josh Morrissey continues to become one of the brighter defensive stars in the game with 17 points and a +4 rating while playing almost 24 minutes a game. The Jets are still one of the better top-to-bottom teams in the NHL, and the outlook is bleak for the Red Wings to end their losing streak tonight.