The Winnipeg Jets are slowly building back to their previous form, and have posted a 3-1-1 record over their last five games. They swept a back-to-back over the weekend against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Connor Hellebuyck had struggled in March, but he came up large in these two contests after facing a combined 83 shots against two high-powered offences.
Mark Scheifele scored two goals and the winner against the Panthers, while Nino Niederreiter extended his point streak to six games with his new club. As they begin the process of finding their footing for the final 15 games, these three players will need to step up for the Jets to rediscover their impressive early-season success.
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Adam Lowry Needs To Find a Scoring Touch
Providing a scoring touch is not where Adam Lowry’s value to the team is brought, but he has only scored one goal in his last 40 games. As the third-line centre on a potential playoff team, they are going to need more of a boost from him as they make a final push for a playoff spot.
He had two assists in February, three in January, and has yet to record one yet in March. The good news for Lowry is that his lines are controlling play at 5v5 and he is continually providing a ton of value on the penalty kill.
According to Money Puck, when Lowry is on a line with Morgan Barron and Mason Appleton, they are recording an expected goals percentage of 64.4 percent. That is the second-best number out of all forward lines that have played at least 50 minutes together this season. What it tells us is that despite his scoring woes, his lines are typically shutting down the opponents’ top competition. If he is able to rediscover his scoring touch over the next 15 games, the Jets will be in a good spot down the middle come playoff time.
In a Top-Four Role, Neal Pionk Will Need to Post Better Results
Neal Pionk has struggled in many different roles this season. While he has set a career-high in goals with eight, almost all of his defensive metrics have slid further as the season has progressed. With Josh Morrissey currently injured and set to potentially miss a few upcoming games, Pionk will have to step up both offensively and defensively to help weather the storm of losing their top defenceman.
Related: Jets’ Remaining Schedule Puts Playoff Hopes In Serious Jeopardy
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