The quest to finish their respective disappointing seasons on a positive note likely is the goal for both the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers.
Looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time in a month, the Jets will host the Flyers on Wednesday night.
Winnipeg (36-32-11, 83 points) held out hopes of a playoff berth after going 10-5-1 in March. But a 3-6-1 record this month means they will miss the postseason for the first time in five years.
The Jets, however, did snap a four-game losing streak with Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Western Conference leader Colorado. Kyle Connor scored his 45th goal — the most in franchise history since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011 — and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his 200th career victory.
It was an all-around needed showing for the Jets, who totaled seven goals and were shut out once during their four-game skid.
“We were solid in our details, we just grinded it out until the opportunity was there,” said Hellebuyck, who has set career highs with 65 starts and 27 losses this season.
“The firing power we have in this locker room — we can score at any moment.”
Connor is at the forefront of Winnipeg’s offense, setting career highs for goals, assists (44) and points (89). He also has three more games to reach the coveted 50-goal mark.
“If it happens, it happens,” Connor told the Jets’ official website. “It’s not going to change my mentality to how I approach the game.”
Each of Winnipeg’s final three games is at home, where it’s looking to win back-to-back contests for the first time since March 25 and 27. Connor was responsible for the Jets’ lone goal and Hellebuyck made 33 saves during a 3-1 loss at Philadelphia on Feb. 1.
Since that victory, however, the Flyers (25-44-11, 61 points) are 10-22-3. Philadelphia is just 4-18-2 in its past 24 road games.
The Flyers will look to rebound from their most road defeat, a 3-1 setback at Chicago on Monday. Kevin Hayes scored his 10th goal of the season and Felix Sandstrom stopped 30 shots, but Philadelphia couldn’t overcome an early two-goal deficit.
“No matter what happens during the game, just make sure you have the same mentality,” said Flyers forward Travis Konecny, who has three goals and four assists during a six-game point streak.
“You can’t get up too high, you can’t get down. You just try to stay with the process, and just trust that you’re going to have an opportunity to win the game.”
With Philadelphia’s No. 1 netminder Carter Hart done for the season with a lower-body injury and Sandstrom starting the second game of the back-to-back set, Martin Jones could be back in net for this contest.
Jones has stopped 68 of 72 shots to win his past two starts.
Konecny scored a goal against Winnipeg in February.
–Field Level Media