The red-hot Winnipeg Jets have climbed to the top of the Western Conference with at least a point in four straight and look to enhance their position when they visit the plummeting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. The Jets have a one-point lead atop the West after going 9-2-1 in their last 12 outings and scoring 21 goals while going 3-0-1 in the last four after Sunday’s dominant 5-0 triumph against Ottawa.
“It’s incredible the way we’re clicking right now and the confidence in this room. It’s fun to watch,” Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck told reporters after improving to 15-2-3 with 21 saves Sunday. “. ... When one guy is feeling it, you can see it go through the locker room. That’s what we have in here now.” Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele have combined for 19 points (five goals) in the last four games and could pad those statistics against the Red Wings, who have allowed 24 goals in their past four contests. Detroit has dropped seven straight games (0-4-3) after an embarrassing 10-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday. “Character comes shining through when moments are at their toughest, so we have to decide through our character that we are going to be way better than this,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. “As I said to the guys in-between periods, we have the group to do it. We have the group to be good enough.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE JETS (17-6-4): Wheeler boasts two goals and eight assists while Scheifele has scored three times and set up six others in the last four games to give the duo 35 and 34 points, respectively, overall. Winnipeg’s power play stepped up the last two games, converting six of their 10 opportunities and entered Monday second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay at 27.4 percent overall. “The power play is definitely something that’s been awesome for us,” Scheifele told reporters. “We just got to keep it going and continue to learn. There’s still things we can fix. … I think we need to keep that mentality to not be complacent.”
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (10-12-5): Detroit allowed only five of the 24 goals in the last four games on the power play and have not given much chance to their goalies as starter Jimmy Howard let 15 get past him in his last three outings. The Red Wings are averaging only two goals during their losing streak and started the week 27th in the league in scoring (2.67) despite being sixth with the man advantage (22.9). Dylan Larkin tops the team with 23 points, but has not scored a goal in seven games, while Anthony Mantha is next with 22 to go along with a team-high 12 goals and defenseman Mike Green is third with 18 points.
1. Detroit F Tomas Tatar is second on the team with eight goals and needs one assist to reach 100 in his career.
2. Winnipeg F Bryan Little is slated to play his 700th NHL game Tuesday and will take a four-game point streak into that contest.
3. The Red Wings dealt F Scott Wilson to Buffalo on Monday for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft.
PREDICTION: Jets 5, Red Wings 3