Preview: Avalanche at Jets
The Colorado Avalanche travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets on Tuesday, and both squads feel better after snapping out of recent slumps with emphatic victories last weekend. The Avalanche squashed a six-game losing streak Friday by pounding the Rangers 6-1 as Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each finished with three points, while the Jets defeated Dallas 5-1 on Sunday for their second victory in five games as five different Winnipeg players scored.
The Jets uncharacteristically have struggled offensively of late, scoring seven goals in their previous five games before Bryan Little and defenseman Josh Morrissey paced Winnipeg on Sunday with a goal and an assist apiece. “I thought we got back to a lot of the little things,” Winnipeg defenseman Tyler Myers told reporters after the game, in which his fourth goal of the season served as the eventual game winner. “Forwards were quick down low, making quick passes, making quick plays.” The Avalanche won for the first time since Jan. 19, ending an 0-4-2 stretch as MacKinnon finished with three points (one goal, two assists) entering a season-long five-game road trip. “We had to end (the skid) right now,” Rantanen told the media afterward. “We still have half a year left and we’re still sitting in a playoff spot, so it’s in our own hands.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude TV (Denver), TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (20-14-8): MacKinnon’s big night extended his point streak to six games (four goals, four assists) and gives him 63 points on the season (third in the NHL). Rantanen’s two goals came on the power play to give him seven points in his past six games and 65 points this season (second in the league). Colorado finished 3-for-10 with the man advantage Friday, the most power-play opportunities for the Avalanche in a game since 2008.
ABOUT THE JETS (26-13-2): With forward Nikolaj Ehlers and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien sidelined by injuries, Winnipeg got a much-needed scoring boost Sunday from Myers, Little, Connor, Adam Lowry and Morrissey. Connor snapped an 11-game scoring drought early in the third period and Little’s tally marked his first in 12 games. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck shook off an early goal to make 26 saves to win for the second time in three games.
1. Winnipeg F Blake Wheeler has 26 points (20 assists) in his past 20 games after picking up an assist Sunday, giving him a team-high 51 points.
2. Colorado D Tyson Barrie finished with three assists Friday, moving into first place in franchise history for points by a defenseman with 278.
3. Jets C Mark Scheifele snapped a four-game point drought with an assist Sunday, giving him 50 points on the season.
PREDICTION: Jets 4, Avalanche 3