Indianapolis Star
National Hockey League
Preview
Minnesota at Winnipeg
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, April 20, 2018
Where: Bell MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Winnipeg Jets look to add to a season full of firsts when they host the Minnesota Wild in Friday’s Game 5 of their first-round playoff series, potentially just 60 minutes away from winning a postseason series for the first time in franchise history. The key for the Jets, who were flawless in the opening two contests at home before an ugly outing in a Game 3 loss, is to show the form they displayed in a 2-0 road triumph in Game 4 on Tuesday that put Winnipeg on the verge of the second round.

“We know we didn’t play our game the other day, and we know we wanted to get back to our fast game, and I felt like we got to that right off the bat,” Jets center Mark Scheifele told the media after scoring both Winnipeg goals in Game 4. Both teams will be missing key cogs Friday, as Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey is suspended for Game 5 after an ugly cross check on Minnesota’s Eric Staal, and the Wild are without Zach Parise - who scored in each of the first three games but suffered a fractured sternum late in Game 3. Minnesota outshot Winnipeg in Game 4 for the first time in the series (30-28), but could not contain the Jets’ top line of Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor, who combined to finish with two goals, two assists and plus-5. “You can’t start looking at the hill you have to climb overall - that’s not how you have to approach it,” Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has faced on average 35.5 shots per game in the series, told reporters. “It’s next game. We have to win one hockey game in Winnipeg, and we’re more than capable of doing that.”

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, USA, TVA 2, Sportsnet (Winnipeg), FS North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE WILD: The odds are stacked higher for Minnesota with the injury to Parise - who closed the regular season with 12 goals in his final 18 games - and defenseman Ryan Suter, arguably the Wild’s top blueliner who fractured his ankle before the playoff started. The series would be more lopsided without the outstanding play of Dubnyk, who has saved 132 of 142 shots for a .930 save percentage and has kept the Wild within 1-0 entering the third period in each of Minnesota’s losses. Forward Jordan Greenway and defenseman Nick Seeler are the only Wild players with a plus rating in the series (plus-2).

ABOUT THE JETS: Winnipeg features one of the top offenses in the NHL, and five players have three points or more in the series - led by forward Patrik Laine’s four points (two goals) and three apiece from Scheifele, injured defenseman Tyler Myers, Wheeler and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck responded to getting pulled after two periods in Game 3 with a masterpiece in Game 4, making 30 saves for his first career postseason shutout. Rookie forward Jack Roslovic, who drew into the lineup in Game 2, is plus-3 with two assists through three contests.

OVERTIME

1. Wild F Kyle Rau and D Ryan Murphy are expected to make their playoff debuts in Game 5, as Rau skated with veteran Fs Marcus Foligno and Matt Cullen and Murphy lined up with D Nate Prosser during Thursday’s practice.

2. Jets rookie D Sami Niku, who scored a goal in his only game in the regular season, skated with D Jacob Trouba in practice Thursday as Myers - who missed Game 4 with a lower-body injury - will be a game-time decision.

3. Winnipeg has scored the opening goal in the first four games of the series.

PREDICTION: Jets 3, Wild 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Minnesota 46-29-8-3 L1 28-7-7-1 18-22-1-2 3-1-0-1 43-28-8-2 14-15-0-1
Winnipeg 55-21-8-2 W1 34-7-2-0 21-14-6-2 6-3-0-0 49-18-8-2 18-10-2-0
Last Meeting
Minnesota Winnipeg
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/17/18 WIN 2 MIN 0 30 26 0-2 28 30 0-1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Minnesota S. Anas 0
Winnipeg M. Scheifele 2
Goals Player  
Minnesota S. Anas 0
Winnipeg M. Scheifele 2
Assists Player  
Minnesota S. Anas 0
Winnipeg K. Connor 1
Saves Player  
Minnesota D. Dubnyk 26
Winnipeg C. Hellebuyck 30
Season
Total Points Player  
Minnesota E. Staal 82
Winnipeg B. Wheeler 97
Goals Player  
Minnesota E. Staal 45
Winnipeg P. Laine 51
Assists Player  
Minnesota M. Granlund 50
Winnipeg B. Wheeler 73
Saves Player  
Minnesota D. Dubnyk 1811
Winnipeg C. Hellebuyck 2043
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Off vs  Winnipeg Def
3.01 GF
2.62 GA
29.9 Shots
31.5 Shots
52 PP
53 PK
Winnipeg Off vs  Minnesota Def
3.3 GF
2.79 GA
32.4 Shots
31.5 Shots
66 PP
53 PK