Winnipeg Jets week ahead: Can Jets nab 6 points?

Jan 17, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) plays the puck against Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo (2) during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) plays the puck against Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo (2) during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports /

The Winnipeg Jets enter the third week of the season in an okay position, having grabbed a critical two points in Edmonton after trailing by two goals early. It was a character win after a shaky opening ten minutes, and one the team can hang their hat on with season number thirteen of Jets 2.0 hockey officially rolling along.

The week ahead sees them play at home against St. Louis Tuesday, before a two game road trip against Detroit Thursday, and a Saturday night showdown in Montreal against the Hab.

In theory, it’s a decidedly easier week than the two previous.

Sorting by points percentage in this young season, however, the Winnipeg Jets actually find themselves at the bottom compared to their three opponents this week, at .400. But in my estimation, the Jets should believe they can exit the week with all six points, and disappointed with anything less than four.

Here are their opponents with their current records:

Winnipeg Jets, 2-3-0, .400

St. Louis Blues, 2-1-1, .625

Detroit Red Wings, 5-1-0, .833

Montreal Canadiens, 2-1-1, .625

You can track the Jets’ next game here.

Let’s have a look.

St. Louis is getting absolutely swamped, but finding results

The St. Louis Blues have the worst Shot Attempt Percentage (SAT%) in the entire league at the moment, controlling a paltry 39.8% of shots. Yet they’ve somehow managed to earn points in three of their four matchups, playing an opportunistic style and pouncing on chances.

St. Louis is a weird team to evaluate these days (their power play has yet to score this year), with an ageing blueline locked up to long term deals, but an interesting collection of youthful skill up front. They traded Ryan O’Reilly last year, but brought in Kevin Hayes from the Flyers this offseason.

Jordan Binnington meanwhile, was one of the worst starting goalies in the league last season, saving .894 percent of shots while starting 60 games.

But he’s undefeated in regulation so far, with a 2-0-1 record on the back of a .959 save percentage.

What the Blues are doing is not sustainable, and I expect the Jets to have plenty of puck possession while controlling the run of play. The Blues are winning, but it’s built on a house of cards.

The Jets need to hold the fort down at the Canada Life Centre, and wake up Wednesday morning with two points in their pocket.

Can Jets outplay the upstart Red Wings?

The Red Wings have stormed out of the gate with such fury this year, you’d think it was Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom leading the way.

That era is long gone, and the rebuilding Red Wings are hoping that they can finally just start… building, rather than rebuilding. Their 5-0-1 start helps with that.

But the real story is the top of the skater stats on today, with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin sitting side by side atop the leaderboard.

DeBrincat has 8 goals and 12 points in 6 games, while Larkin has 3 goals and 11 points.

The Red Wings finally found their other star to play alongside Larkin, while Lucas Raymond continues his growth as a supremely skilled winger.

But similar to St. Louis, the Red Wings’ SAT% is just 45.1, 27th in the league. None of that matters if you’re scoring goals though, and the Jets’ top pair of Josh Morrissey and Dylan DeMelo will have their hands full defending their two-headed monster up front.

Personally, I’m also looking forward to watching Moritz Seider, too. He’s been a beast since he made the Wings at 19 years old, and I have yet to watch him a ton.

Are the Red Wings real? Or is this a mirage?

Winnipeg will find out Thursday.

Can Jets crack the Habs’ .974 five-on-five save percentage?

Through four games, the Habs have somehow only allowed two goals at five on five, despite allowing 14 overall.

Their goals against breakdown by strength is pretty amusing:

They’ve allowed two short handed goals, one four-on-four goal, one goal while down two men, four goals while playing down a man, and, get this, four goals with the opposition’s goalie pulled.

Four games, four goals against while playing 5v6.

I haven’t watched any of their games, but that is an absurd stat early on.

The Jets strategy is obvious: pull the goalie at every opportunity. The young Habs are a mess with the pressure on and the clock ticking down.

All jokes aside, Montreal is getting contributions from many of their newcomers. Alex Newhook has three goals, Sean Monahan continues his strong play in Montreal with 4 points, and it’s a great story to see Tanner Pearson off to a nice start with two goals after last year’s turmoil in Vancouver.

However, by the time Saturday rolls around, you can expect Montreal’s crazy save percentage numbers to calm down a little.

And Winnipeg should be keen stamp out the Saturday night party in Montreal down by coming away with two points.

Predictions for the week:

4-3 Winnipeg over St. Louis

4-2 Detroit over Winnipeg

6-1 Winnipeg over Montreal

Bring on another week of Jets hockey.