Patrik Laine should be dropped down to the third line. Yes, the third line. It sounds politically incorrect but if you analyze his play on the first line, he slows them down tremendously and the number of shots is limited due to the other superstars on the first the line. I know it sounds crazy but if Laine was indeed dropped down on the third line, he would make his teammates look amazing because he has the ability to make those around him better whenever he is on the ice. Not to mention he would have so many more chances to shoot the puck.
Now, are the Winnipeg Jets going to keep up this stellar play? In one of our past episodes of The CanSportsOne Hour, I stressed to Mark that American Thanksgiving is where we can see who is in a good standing to have their playoff tickets punched.
Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice sent Brendan Lemieux down to make room for the Mathieu Perreault who was injured. Perreault skated Monday morning at BellMTS Place but did not suit up for the 7:00 pm contest Tuesday. Arizona made a deal with Tampa Bay that sent tendy Louie Domingue to the sunshine state in exchange for another netminder, Michael Leighton. In the deal, the Coyotes also got forward Tye Quinn. All three players are currently playing in the AHL.
The Coyotes are winless in all seven contests since the return of the Winnipeg Jets franchise in 2011. Tuesday, Arizona looked to add a victory to a 0-5-2 all-time record versus the Jets.
In the previous seven games, Winnipeg Jets Captain Blake Wheeler has 4 goals and 11 assists for a 15 point total and his linemate Mark Scheifele has 7 goals and 6 assists, totalling 13 points.
Looking to complete a sweep of a home and home series against the “Jets 1.0” at BellMTS Place, the Winnipeg Jets had a high level of confidence against a lowly Coyotes team, having scored 3 goals in the final period to earn a 4-1 road win in the desert Saturday night.
The Coyotes, on the other hand, wanted to end a four-game losing skid. Being the only team in the National Hockey League who has not won a game in regulation, the Coyotes are eager to get out of this slump. Rookie Clayton Keller is the teams leading scoring and earned a 17 point total so far. Looking at it ahead of game-time, however, being pointless in the last three games after riding a 10 game point streak, I didn’t think there would be much production from the Coyotes for a victory.
The Winnipeg Jets started Connor Hellebuyck in between the pipes. He has really given the Jets a lot to be happy about since Steve Mason. Yeah. Steve Mason. Hellebuyck, the former UMass product, is 8-1-2 so far in the 2017-2018 campaign and the Jets in their last 10 are 6-1-3.
On a personal note, when I walked into BellMTS Place for the morning skates, it dawned on me that it was Dale Hawerchuk Night! Naturally, the more time I spend covering hockey and other sports, the more I learn about the history of athletes and teams. Getting to know that Dale Hawerchuk played 1188 NHL career games and finished with a total of 1409 points blows me away. It was a great privilege that I could be there on behalf of CanSportsOne to see his induction ceremony. Hawerchuk joins Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg in the Winnipeg Jets Hall Of Fame.
Made my way into the Coyotes dressing room after their morning twirl and caught up with defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the young man stressed that they haven’t been playing bad hockey. The team is trying to stay positive after this rocky start, and with all the media ready to write them off, I felt a good sense and high level of morale in the locker room after speaking with Ekman-Larsson.
Too bad it didn’t pan out, with the Jets winning 4-1.