Sports How the Winnipeg Jets have become Canada’s best NHL team

01:06  18 january  2018
01:06  18 january  2018 Source:   sportsnet.ca

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  'We got nothing to complain about': Jets coach responds to Sharks' slam The head coach of the Winnipeg Jets says NHL players have little to complain about after a house-made video released by the San Jose Sharks poked fun at The Peg before Sunday's game.The head coach of the Winnipeg Jets says NHL players have little to complain about after an in-house video released by the San Jose Sharks poked fun at The Peg before Sunday's game.

In a season of surprises, from success in Vegas to disasters in Ottawa and Edmonton, we bring you the Winnipeg Jets — Canada ’ s best National Hockey League team . %2Fhockey%2Fnhl%2Fwinnipeg- jets - become -canadas- best - nhl - team %2F. Join the Conversation.

How does that sound, Winnipeg ? As the NHL playoffs move into the second round, the Jets are the only The Jets became the Great White North Hope on Wednesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs bowed out to the The point was the Jets are Canada ’ s team and it looks good on them.

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In a season of surprises, from success in Vegas to disasters in Ottawa and Edmonton, we bring you the Winnipeg Jets — Canada’s best National Hockey League team.

That’s right. The patient, draft-and-develop, trade-averse Jets have finally arrived. They’re big, deep, and fast with goaltending, an excellent defence, and talent up front that for the most part is only going to mature and improve.

The Jets are in first place in the Central, despite the fact Mark Scheifele — their best player, though Blake Wheeler fans may argue — has been on injured reserve since Dec. 27. He could be out another month.

So it’s up to the captain Wheeler, having a career year at age 31, a fast-maturing Patrik Laine, and a focused Jacob Trouba to get this club to the finish line. Along with the rest of a lineup that is way deeper than most of us gave the Jets credit for when we were making our pre-season predictions.

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Hi David, While I’m also pleased to see Winnipeg regain an NHL franchise, I don’t have particularly high hopes for the Jets this season. Adam, how can you say Mike Babcock is even a good coach? A few seasons ago he had the best and highest scoring line in hockey , so what did he do?

WINNIPEG —Mark Scheifele doesn’t care if the Winnipeg Jets aren’t big news in Canadian hockey circles. They can take all the media attention and we ’ ll continue to work on our game and try to be the best team we can be.”

What is suddenly making head coach Paul Maurice so smart, after many folks questioned why he got a new three-year deal heading into the season? The talent at his disposal, that’s what.

He’s never had horses like this — plus a goalie. Here are a few thoughts on what’s going right in Manitoba this winter, and why we’ll be there this spring for only the second time since the Jets’ return.

• It starts in goal with goaltender Connor Hellebuyck‘s coming of age.

After a 2016-17 season in which a less consistent Hellebuyck gave Winnipeg a .907 save percentage, Jets management went out and signed Steve Mason. Do you think it was GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s plan to have a $4.1 million backup this year and next? Yeah, me neither. Mason started the first two games of the season. Then Hellebuyck went in for Game 3 and hasn’t given the net back.

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Hockey Central at Noon explains why the Winnipeg Jets could possibly be Canada ' s best team , lead by Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. MTS Centre crowd sings "O Canada " in Winnipeg - Duration: 2:41. NHL 358,307 views.

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Hellebuyck has 35 starts this season and just six regulation losses. Six! Goaltending like that does a Stanley Cup contender make.

• Like almost every bottom-dwelling team that finds success, the Jets’ climb is based more on keeping pucks put of their own net as much shooting it into opponents’ goals.

Last season Winnipeg raked 27th in goals allowed. This season it sits 12th in goals-against per game (2.74) and is on pace to cut 30 goals-against off its total. It’s simple math: better team defence, a better defensive corps, better goaltending and a better penalty kill — from 26th to 17th — makes for a better team.

• Offence doesn’t hurt, however, and Winnipeg’s power play has improved from 16th last year to second-best in the NHL today. The Jets are one of just five teams that have six players with 10 or more goals (the Lightning, Penguins, Blackhawks and Hurricanes were the others at the time of this writing). Laine looks like he’s good for another 35-goal season, and lightning-fast Nikolaj Ehlers is headed for another 60-plus point season.

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  Dumba scores twice, Wild beat Jets 4-1 Dumba scores twice, Wild beat Jets 4-1Dumba got his goals in the third period, helping Minnesota win its second straight behind 32 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

Memories of how they were treated by hockey fans in Winnipeg had some former Jets feeling The NHL left Winnipeg 15 years ago to become the Phoenix Coyotes. “I was fortunate to play in a few Canadian cities and it was tough being a part of that, to watch a team move from Canada to the States.

The Winnipeg Jets have been a consistently mediocre team since moving north from Atlanta: not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to get a high Once considered to have second line potential, if Klingberg becomes an NHL regular it now seems more likely he’ll do it as a third-liner.

More goals scored and less goals against makes for a path to success that is pretty easy to figure out.

• The blue line: Trouba and Josh Morrissey have settled into the Jets shutdown pairing all year — two young players developed in-house. Big Tyler Myers has been healthy this season — the Jets only played one period of hockey with their Top 6 D-men last season — and Dmitry Kulikov may finally have found a home on Myers’ flank, turning in a solid, plus-4 season in Winnipeg after going minus-26 in only 47 games with Buffalo last season. Which brings us to Dustin Byfuglien…

• Big Buff has always been a risk-and-reward player, and in the past the Jets had to roll the dice and play him a ton. Sure, he still leads the Jets in average ice time at 23:21 this season, but that’s a full four minutes less than the 27:26 he averaged in ’16-17.

The point is, the Jets are a deeper, better team that doesn’t have to run Byfuglien out for nearly half the hockey game. And he’s likely a better player at 23 minutes than 27, asked to take a few less risks and concentrate on being a sound defender.

Hellebuyck with shutout as Jets beat Canucks

  Hellebuyck with shutout as Jets beat Canucks Hellebuyck with shutout as Jets beat CanucksPatrik Laine scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season in the first period.

Winnipeg fans still giddy over the return of an NHL franchise to their city dared to dream the Jets If the Jets become sellers, don’t expect core players such as Kane, Wheeler, Byfuglien, Bogosian or How the Jets perform between now and mid-February will determine their course of action by trade

WINNIPEG – They may have the worst power play in the NHL , but the Winnipeg Jets have been deadly when it comes to shootouts. Ladd shrugged off suggestions his prowess at the shootout might boost his chances of making Team Canada for the Olympics.

One senses a passing of the torch here. That this isn’t Byfuglien’s team anymore. It’s more like Wheeler’s team now, soon to be Scheifele’s.

Dustin Byfuglien is logging less ice time in 2017-18. (David Zalubowski/AP)

• Matt Hendricks. As a Minnesota guy, we’re betting that if there any waters to be smoothed over in the “reshaping Byfuglien” department, Hendricks is quietly brokering that transition. He is one of the solid leaders coming off the fourth line in the game today, and with Wheeler and Byfuglien both Minnesota natives, Hendricks speaks their language.

Meanwhile, with Hendricks in town the Jets penalty kill has moved from 26th last season to 17th this year. And it’s not like they are taking any less penalties. A Winnipeg team that was fourth in the NHL in minor penalties last season sits in sixth place this season, on pace for almost an identical number of minor penalties called against them.

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