The top of the Central heap, the Winnipeg Jets (28-13-7, 1st Central) greet the Sharks (26-14-6, 2nd Pacific) for their return home after a triumphant socal sojourn. The Sharks look to keep rolling after a perfect road trip following a perfect home stand for a combined record of 2-0-0. Intentionally dishonestly phrased statistics aside, the Sharks have cruised since they were walloped by the Jets in Winnipeg in the last game before their five day bye week. Since returning from vacation, San Jose has compiled a strong 5-1-0 record, climbing from just outside of post season contention into second place in the tightly packed Pacific division.
With two of the league's head-turningest netminders set to face off, tonight could be a low scoring affair (kindly pay no attention to the last time I anticipated that). Set to start his third consecutive game with starter Martin Jones sidelined with a lower body injury, Aaron Dell boasts a 12-3-2 record, a save percentage of .929, and a 2.17 goals against average. Not to be out done, Jets starter (sorry, Steve Mason) Connor Hellebuyck sits on an absurd 25-6-6 record, a .926, and a 2.29, respectively.
The last time these two teams met, the Sharks were reeling and the Jets were rolling, exacerbated by a surprisingly viral non-story about weather (Jets players rose above when asked similarly baiting questions about San Jose). Winners of four of their previous five, Winnipeg's finest handed the Sharks a thorough walloping to end a forgettable 1-1-2 road trip. Now, the Sharks are the ones flying, winners of five of their last six, and the Jets are, well okay, the Jets are doing just fine too, 2-0 since their bye week, not to mention their 13-3-0 record versus Pacific division opponents this year.
But a little momentum can do a lot of good, if you believe in that sort of thing, so here's hoping our boys can show the Jets some of that same hospitality they received up north.
Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Melker Karlsson
Barclay Goodrow -- Joel Ward -- Jannik Hansen
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed
Injured: Martin Jones (lower body), Joonas Donskoi (flu)
Tragedy strikes: Donskoi is set to miss his second consecutive game with the flu. While his absence didn't seem to slow the Sharks down in Anaheim, the loss of the team's fifth leading goal scorer is never a good thing.
Kyle Connor -- Blake Wheeler -- Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault -- Bryan Little -- Nikolaj Ehlers
Brandon Tanev -- Andrew Copp -- Joel Armia
Marko Dano -- Matt Hendricks -- Jack Roslovic
Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba
Toby Enstrom -- Dustin Byfuglien
Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Ben Chiarot, Brendan Lemieux
Injured: Mark Scheifele (upper body), Adam Lowry (upper body), Shawn Matthias (upper body), Steve Mason (concussion)
Similar to Donskoi, Scheifele's absence is bound to be felt by this team sooner rather than later. If they're still this good without their third leading scorer, the West has something about which to be really concerned come playoffs.
Where to Watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, TSN-3
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App