The Winnipeg Jets have never won a playoff game, but enter Thursday’s road contest against the Boston Bruins off a victory at Nashville on Tuesday that looked and felt like a game played in May. In a matchup of two of the Western Conference’s best teams, the Jets survived giving up two late goals in the first period to earn a wild 6-4 victory when Brandon Tanev scored the game-winning goal with 1:26 remaining.
“We played the way we wanted to,” Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers told reporters after scoring two goals, tying him with Patrik Laine for the team lead with 17. “We played hard, we played fast.” The Bruins also are in playoff contention, holding the third spot in the Atlantic Division after a 3-0 shutout victory Tuesday at Buffalo. Anton Khudobin recorded 36 saves - including 17 in the opening period - as the Bruins won for the seventh time in its past 10 games. “They had some shifts in our end, but I thought we managed the game very well in the third (period),” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told the media afterward. “We’re recognizing how to play in those situations and to settle down and play the right way.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE JETS (20-10-5): Blake Wheeler added an empty-net score in the final seconds against Nashville, giving him 13 points in 10 December games and moving him into a tie for fifth in the NHL with 41 points entering Wednesday. Ehlers’ two-goal effort gives him six in his past seven contests. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck improved to 18-4-4 after Tuesday’s victory, and he ranks 10th in the league in goals against average (2.50).
ABOUT THE BRUINS (17-10-5): Forward David Pastrnak’s point streak ended at 12 games Tuesday (five goals, nine assists), but he leads Boston with 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists). The Bruins entered Wednesday seventh in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.69), yielding two or fewer five times in their past seven games. Forward Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winning goal Tuesday and has five points in his past four games.
1. Boston rookie F Danton Heinen has points in his past four games, recording two goals with five assists.
2. The Jets are third in the NHL in power-play percentage (25.2 percent) and fourth in goals per game (3.34) through Tuesday.
3. The Bruins, who open a three-game homestand Thursday, are 10-5-3 at home.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Bruins 2