The Jets and Bruins have their eyes on a playoff prize as they enter this game Thursday night. Both teams are heavy favourites to enter the post season and move one past the first round, and both teams hope to have some of their star players back in the line-up. But that definitely doesn’t mean David Pastrnak, Dustin Byfuglien, or Josh Morrissey will skate for their teams in quite a while.
This will be the return (and final) match-up between the Jets and Bruins. Back on January 29, the Jets squeezed out a 4-3 win in Boston. Jaroslav Halak was the Bruins goaltender of record; he’ll get another crack at them Thursday.
The Bruins haven’t had much success in Winnipeg the last 11 games going 3-8 over that time. The under is also 9-3 in the last 12 games in the Manitoba capital when these two teams hook-up. The home team in this head-to-head series is 19-7 in the last 26 games.
The Bruins are 7-2-3 against the Central division this season, while the Jets are a very average 6-6-2.
After going on a streak of 19 straight games with at least a point, the Bruins have lost two consecutive regulation games for the first time since December 23-27 after dropping a 7-4 decision to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening.
This game with the Jets will wrap up their short three-game road. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and 15-12-6 away from Boston this season.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been confirmed to start against the Jets. The veteran keeper is 18-10-4 this season with a goals against of 2.33 and save percentage of .924 to go along with four shutouts. He is 4-3 lifetime against the Jets.
Trent Frederic was recently recalled from Providence of the AHL, but only played 4:34 against the Blue Jackets.
The Jets lost a heartbreaker in their last outing Tuesday against the Sharks. Mathieu Perreault tied the game at four with 3:38 left, but then allowed the Sharks to score the game winning goal with less than five seconds remaining in the game to take it 5-4. Perreault has scored goals in back-to-back games and now has 13 on the season.
Starter Connor Hellebuyck, who is coming off a Vezina type season, hasn’t quite shown that same consistency this year and this game against the Sharks was another example of it. In front of a loose defensive core, he allowed three goals on the first 16 shots and five goals on 36 shots during the game.
Since January 22, the Jets are third worst in the NHL with 73 goals against. Only the Sabres and Senators have allowed more goals against since that time. The Jets are 9-10-2 within that time span. Prior to the All-Star break the team had the fourth best goals against in the NHL, they now sit 15th in the league (2.99 team goals per game).
Of note, Patrik Laine has benefited from being moved to the team’s number one line alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. He has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last 10 games.