Winnipeg Jets Gameday Preview: Montreal Canadiens
As the Winnipeg Jets conclude their three-game road trip, the team looks to take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight for a much-needed home game. While the Jets won two of three on the road, picking up five points, the team owes a lot to Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck for keeping the team in the games. The team was outshot 44-17 in the first period in the three road games.
When glancing back at the last 10 games, the Jets are 5-3-1, while the Habs are 5-4-0. Ahead of their first matchup of the regular season, let’s look at the projected lineups, major storylines, and players to watch for on each team.
Winnipeg Jets Projected Lines:
Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Mason Appleton
Cole Perfetti – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Blake Wheeler
Morgan Barron – Adam Lowry – Sam Gagner
Saku Maenalanen – David Gustafsson – Axel Jonsson-Fjallby
Josh Morrissey – Neal Pionk
Brenden Dillon – Nate Schmidt
Dylan Samberg – Dylan DeMelo
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines:
Kirby Dach – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Sean Monahan – Joel Armia
Brendan Gallagher – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Juraj Slafkovsky – Jake Evans – Rem Pitlick
Johnathan Kovacevic – Jordan Harris
David Savard – Kaiden Guhle
Chris Wideman – Arber Xhekaj
Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck Responsible for Wins
It is almost impossible to take your eyes off Hellebuyck in goal due to his flashy saves and impeccable reflexes. He currently has an impressive .931 save percentage this season. During the Jets road trip, he was praised by fans, teammates, and coaches alike for keeping the Jets in the two of three games he participated in.
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During the team’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the 2012 draft pick made 46 saves in regulation before Jack Eichel scored the overtime winner. The game remained at 0-0 for the first 40 minutes thanks to Hellebuyck’s steady performance. The 29-year-old also guided the Jets to a 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings to kick off the three-game stint.
With head coach Rick Bowness out recovering from COVID-19, associate coach Scott Arniel commented on his goaltender’s performance after their game against Vegas saying, “Our goaltender had to stand on his head there for most of the evening. So, we’ll take the points and get out of here.”
Arniel went on to say, “Pretty much after the second period, it couldn’t get any uglier. We were better in the third, it wasn’t picturesque. Then in overtime, we had lots of chances as well and had the puck for most of it. We had one breakdown and obviously it was in the net.”
The Jets need to clean up their act and rely on more than just their goaltending in order to consistently win games moving forward.
Montreal Canadiens’ Christian Dvorak Scores First Career Hat Trick
On Oct. 29, the Canadiens earned a 7-4 win against the St. Louis Blues, and three of those goals were scored by Christian Dvorak. With two stunning goals and one empty-netter, the 26-year-old scored three goals in the third period to clinch the team’s second consecutive win and mark his first career NHL hat trick.
Dvorak was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He was just traded to the Canadiens at the 2022 NHL Draft after the Habs gave up a first- and third-round draft pick to the Coyotes.
Hockey fans should keep an eye on Dvorak’s performance throughout the rest of the regular season.
Players to Watch
Winnipeg Jets – Pierre-Luc Dubois
With six points in nine games, Pierre-Luc Dubois is tied with Mark Scheifele, who is predicted to have an excellent season, for third place on the Jets roster with points earned so far. Dubois has an even split with three assists and three goals. While it may have taken the centre some time to get into a groove on the team, he definitely has been a key factor in the Jets’ success so far this season.
Montreal Canadiens – Nick Suzuki
After Shea Weber was traded to Vegas, the Habs granted Nick Suzuki the captaincy becoming the youngest captain in franchise history at only 23 years old. So far, the 13th-overall draft pick has earned 11 points in 10 games, six of those being assists, and five being goals. With the ‘C’ on his sweater, Suzuki needs to continue proving that the title was well-deserved by giving everything he has on the ice this season.
Tune in at 8 PM EST tonight to see if the Jets can tighten up their play against the Canadiens and prove they are in it for the long haul.
Courtney is a 23-year-old recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario, earning her Master of Media in Journalism and Communication. She combines her longtime love for hockey, journalism, and sports media as she covers the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers.