The Winnipeg Jets have made themselves at home on the road with a franchise-record 21 victories away from Manitoba.
The Jets (46-29-4) look to add to that total and strengthen their hold atop the Central Division on Tuesday when they visit the Minnesota Wild in the second contest of a regular season-ending four-game road.
Winnipeg (46-29-4, 96 points) snapped a three-game losing skid with Monday’s 4-3 overtime victory over Chicago, moving past idle Nashville while remaining two points ahead of surging St. Louis.
“We want to try and wind this thing up to get to that level that we’re going to see in a week,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun. “We haven’t talked about the standings a whole heck of a lot here. We’ve talked about wanting to get back to our game.”
Former Blackhawks draft pick Kevin Hayes scored 3:38 into overtime on Monday to lift the Jets, who will bid to avert a five-game season sweep at the hands of the Wild (36-34-9, 81 points).
Minnesota, however, has plummeted down the standings with losses in eight of its last 11 games (3-7-1) to reside five points behind Colorado for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“Obviously, the balls really have to fall in the right order, but nothing’s going to work if you don’t win three in a row,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters Monday, one day after the club was shut out for the second time in three games in a 4-0 loss to Arizona.
Veteran forward Zach Parise has five (one goal, four assists) of his team-leading 59 points in the series against Winnipeg, but his availability is in question after missing each of the last four games with a lower-body injury.
“You want to be playing and you want to be contributing, so it’s not fun being on the sidelines for it,” the 34-year-old Parise told TwinCities.com. “It’s been pretty frustrating from where we were sitting, in the first wild-card spot, and then going down to the second one and slowly see the teams pass us.
“It’s tough to watch, to see that happen. It hasn’t been a very exciting couple of weeks, I guess. But, you know, we’re not out yet.”
Devan Dubnyk has received little offensive support while yielding just 15 goals in his last seven games. The 32-year-old, however, improved to 11-8-1 in 20 career appearances against Winnipeg after turning aside 82 of 87 shots to win three matchups this season.
Winnipeg could turn to Eric Comrie in net after Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves on Monday and with backup Laurent Brossoit nursing a lower-body injury.
The 23-year-old Comrie was recalled from Manitoba of the American Hockey League after Brossoit was injured. He has yet to play for the Jets this season and owns a 2-2-0 mark with a 4.00 goals-against average and .880 save percentage in four career starts.
Patrik Laine leads the Jets with four points (three goals, one assist) in the series against Minnesota.
Mark Scheifele, who has a club-best 36 goals scored twice against the Wild while Kyle Connor, Bryan Little and captain Blake Wheeler have each recorded two assists versus the Wild.
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