'We’re just chugging along right now:' Jets atop NHL standings amid 12-game point streak
It's been nearly a month since the Winnipeg Jets suffered a regulation loss and a 12-game point streak has the team sitting atop the NHL standings ahead of Tuesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Winnipeg's lone regulation loss in December came in a narrow 2-1 defeat to the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 12. The Jets won four of their next six games - picking up a point in each the two losses - before rattling off six straight wins.
The franchise-record points streak has vaulted Winnipeg to sitting alone atop the NHL standings with a 26-9-4 record. The Jets, who have never won the Presidents' Trophy, have a one-point cushion on the Boston Bruins, who also have 39 games played, as well as the Vancouver Canucks (40 games played).
It's been a significant step forward for the Jets, who sat at 12-8-2 after ending the month of November on a three-game losing streak, and the team is starting to draw the attention of the league.
“They’re a really good team, maybe the best hockey team in the NHL, and they're really stingy,” Arizona Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said after a 6-2 loss to Winnipeg on Sunday. “But I didn’t like that we didn’t stay with it when we had some adversity. It's out of character for us.”
The Jets limited the Coyotes to just 17 shots on Sunday and quieting offences has become a signature during their 12-game point streak.
“That was a great effort by everybody," Jets coach Rick Bowness said after the win. "When we get four lines rolling like that, the six defensemen and everyone taking great pride in the goals against and keeping the puck out of our zone, that's the result."
Since Dec. 1, the Jets have allowed just 30 goals over 17 games, allowing more than two goals just once - in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 18.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has a 10-0-0 record since Dec. 1, posting a .935 save percentage over that stretch. The 30-year-old is making his case for a second career Vezina Trophy with a 20-6-3 record with a .921 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average.
The Jets’ offence has averaged 3.5 goals per game since Dec. 1, scoring four or more goals nine times in 17 games. Only the Canucks (plus-50) have a better goal differential than the Jets at 38, while only the Los Angeles Kings (91 in 36 games) have allowed fewer goals than Winnipeg's 94 in 39 games.
“We’re just chugging along right now, and I think everyone's just feeling really, really good about themselves,” forward Cole Perfetti said of the team's current mood.