BOSTON — The Winnipeg Jets, coming off their biggest win of the season to date, had the day off in Boston on Wednesday, perhaps taking advantage of the brisk, sunny day to take in some of the sights.
Thursday night, the sight Paul Maurice’s team will see is the TD Garden ice, which hasn’t been a pleasant place for the franchise to visit in recent years.
Whether it be the Atlanta Thrashers or the Winnipeg Jets, the franchise has lost 14 of 15 over the last 10 seasons on Causeway Street.
The win was two years ago, which means the Jets have won one of the last two in the building.
Tuesday night, the Jets went into another tough building, and pulled out a dramatic win in Nashville, one of the best teams in the league.
“This is a huge win, I mean, we just gutted it out,” ex-Bruin Blake Wheeler said after his team snapped an 0-4-2 spell on the road with the 6-4 victory.
“There were mistakes made on both parts and we just kept fighting through everything. I thought we were poised, did enough to give ourselves an opportunity and an unsung hero steps up and makes a huge play. That one feels pretty good.”
Third-liner Brandon Tanev broke a 4-4 tie with 1:26 left and Wheeler hit the empty net with one second left to improve the Jets to 20-10-5 on the season. It was their first road win since Nov. 24.
Now, coach Paul Maurice will run his 1,401st NHL game behind a bench as the Jets run into a Bruins team feeling good about itself after the last three nights.
After dropping their 11th straight game to the Washington Capitals and then their seventh in a row to the New York Rangers (this one in overtime because the Bruins were penalized for having five players on the ice when they were supposed to have three), Boston has rebounded.
The Bruins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres by a combined 10-2 count, with Anton Khudobin pitching a 3-0 shutout at Buffalo on Wednesday night.
“We needed a big performance out of him,” said David Backes, who had one of two empty-net goals by the Bruins late. “He made some really timely saves. Obviously, no blemishes on his record. They came at us in waves at times. We were able to limit the quality of chance a little bit and he was up to the task when he did get a couple through.”
Khudobin, asked what he thinks about when shots (36 of them Wednesday) are coming his way, said, “Nothing. I don’t think anything. I just stop the puck and I just keep moving forward.”
The Bruins are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games.
Tuukka Rask, 6-0-1 in his last seven starts, is the likely starter Thursday and comes in 12-6-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .930 save percentage against Atlanta/Winnipeg. Khudobin is 0-2 against the Jets.
UMass Lowell product Connor Hellebuyck, who won Tuesday’s game, is 0-2 in two outings against the Bruins, while Steve Mason is 6-3-3 with 2.24/.933 lifetime against Boston.
The Jets are hanging tough despite being without injured defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom, both out with lower-body ailments.
Scoring first could be important in this game. The Jets are 15-1-4 when scoring first, the Bruins 10-1-3.