3 reasons why the Jets are one of the NHL's hottest clubs

Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

The Winnipeg Jets are out to prove they're for real.

After being embarassed by Toronto on opening night, this team seems to have found its way, posting a record of 6-1-3 over the past ten games and jumping to second place in the Central Division.

Here are three factors in their recent run of success.

Dynamic duo up front

In Monday's 4-1 win over Dallas, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler combined for seven points; Scheifele scored two goals and added an assist, while Wheeler racked up four helpers, all of which were primary in nature.

The offensive outburst lifted Wheeler to third in the NHL in total points (21), behind only Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Scheifele's 18 points puts him in a tie for sixth, giving Winnipeg the league's second-most productive duo, albeit by a fairly wide margin.

Duo Goals Assists Points
Stamkos/Kucherov 21 27 48
Scheifele/Wheeler 14 25 39

"I love playing with (Wheeler)," Scheifele said after the win, according to The Associated Press. "He's my favorite player I've ever played with, so we're happy with the way it's going right now and we've got to continue it."

There's really no reason to believe they won't.

One Hellebuyck of a goalie

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

When general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff signed Steve Mason to a two-year, $4.2-million contract this past offseason, the expectation was the former Philadelphia Flyer would step into the starter's role, with Connor Hellebuyck pencilled in as the backup.

That script has flipped early on, and head coach Paul Maurice has been calling Hellebuyck's name with great regularity based on his near-perfect early-season performance.

Hellebuyck has posted a record of 8-0-2 with a save percentage of .936, while Mason has yet to win a game as a Jet, going 0-3-1 on an abysmal .872 save percentage.

This is all likely to level off as the season progresses, but for now, Hellebuyck is the starter, showing management the answer in net may have been there all along.

Healthy blue line

At present, the Jets are rolling three solid defense pairings, per Daily Faceoff:

An optimal lineup wasn't always at Maurice's disposal last season, with Tyler Myers, Toby Enstrom, and Jacob Trouba all missing significant time due to injury, and only Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien able to consistently remain in the lineup.

The addition of Dmitry Kulikov was questioned at the time of the signing, but he's filled out the back end effectively in a more limited role than he's had in recent, subpar seasons.

To be fair, there's work that needs to be done here, as none of these defensemen have positive Corsi ratings at even strength, and the Jets are allowing 34.5 shots per game, fourth-highest among all teams.

But as Hellebuyck said after the win over Dallas, they're still making things easier for him out there.

"I think the guys in front of me really got in the way and blocked a lot of the key shots," Hellebuyck said, per the team's website. "If they weren't blocking it, they were controlling and keeping it to the outside, so I was able to see pucks.

"It might have looked like a lot of shots (34), but the guys were doing the right things out there."

The way things are looking top to bottom, this may be the season this franchise finally wins a playoff game, at the very least.

3 reasons why the Jets are one of the NHL's hottest clubs
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