The NHL is set to resume on Tuesday July 28th with three days of exhibition games prior to the play-in round starting August 1st. The Winnipeg Jets will play their first game since March against the the Vancouver Canucks, giving the team a chance to shake off the rust that may have built up in that span of time.
The Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks played two games in the 2019-20 regular season. In that span, the Jets won both games by scores of 4-1 as well as 4-0. A third meeting was to take place between the two teams, but was a casualty of the NHL’s shutdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, this exhibition game can be seen as a makeup for the aforementioned.
Competitive hockey has not been played since March and the players are in the same position as they would normally be in at the start of the season. Players will be trying to find their strides and to shake off any rust they may have built up as training camp can only do so much for each player.
A Chance To Work On Lingering Issues
It’s no secret that the Winnipeg Jets defence took a significant hit during the offseason prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. From the departure of Jacob Trouba and the eventual mutual termination of Dustin Byfuglien’s contract, who missed the entirety of the season, played a big role in the team’s defensive struggles.
Although it is a single exhibition game, this is a matchup the Winnipeg Jets can benefit from taking seriously as their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks can serve as a means to iron out any issues before the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. By finding the right defensive pairings early on and staying on top of their game, the Jets may be in a better position when going up against the Calgary Flames.
The exhibition games the NHL has scheduled should not be seen as the preseason where young players are fighting for a roster spot, but more as a final effort to ensure that the team is prepared to a make push into the playoffs.
A Long Playoff Run In The Horizon
It may be safe to say to expect a high-pace game once the players shake off the rust and look to leave a mark right out of the gate. The Winnipeg Jets faced disappointment early on last season as they were eliminated in the first round after making it the year prior to the Western Conference Finals.
It is not far fetched to think that the Jets would like to make a run closer to how 2017-18 played out and then some. The organization will be looking to their offensive talents with the likes of Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele as well as Connor Hellebuyck, a Vezina finalist, to take them there.
The Vancouver Canucks will be looking to do the same in preparation for their play-in series against Minnesota.
Where And When To Watch The Jets And Canucks
The Winnipeg Jets exhibition game against Vancouver will be one of the six matchups on July 29th with puck drop falling at 10:30pmET. It will be available for viewing on NHL Network, NHL.TV and Sportsnet One.