May 26, 2015


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Jets' confidence slowly building on the road

DALLAS — If hockey fans have learned anything about the Winnipeg Jets over these two-plus years, it might be this:

Their frustrating inconsistency often means they handle boons and blessings as well as they handle adversity — not very well.

Winnipeg Jets center Olli Jokinen fights off Dallas Stars defenceman Brenden Dillon during the second period.

TONY GUTIERREZ / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Winnipeg Jets center Olli Jokinen fights off Dallas Stars defenceman Brenden Dillon during the second period.

And so maybe it’s a good thing the Jets, who served up a solid effort in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars Saturday night, were airborne immediately after the game for Denver and a meeting with the Colorado Avalanche, 9-1 to start the season, Sunday evening.

"That was one of our better games, especially the first 40 minutes when we played pretty good," said veteran Olli Jokinen. "That was a big win for the team. We can move on, try and put this game behind us and focus on the next one.

"We’re a .500 hockey team so there’s no reason to plan the parade."

Yup, that just about sums up this team perfectly. Now 5-5-2, they last posted back-to-back wins at the start of the season when they opened with victories over Edmonton and Los Angeles. Since then... it’s kind of been all over the map in a 3-5-2 run.

"We’ve just got to go game-by-game, we can’t really worry about who we’re playing against," Jokinen said. "We’ve got to play our way. We can’t get satisfied having the one win here. That’s our second win in four, five games, whatever it is. To me, we’re a .500 hockey club. This gives us confidence. We want to take those steps forward. We don’t want to be in the position where we have one good game and then take a few steps back. That’s been the case for us in the first 12 games.

"We’ve got to have the right mindset and play the way we did tonight and build off this game and try to be better, try to improve."

All that said...

"If we had said at the start of the trip we’d have three out of the first four points, we definitely would have taken that," added Andrew Ladd. "It’s nice having a win heading into tomorrow against a really tough team. We’re going to have be playing with the confidence and the jam we had tonight.

"Confidence wise this is a big thing."

PP SPECIAL: The Jets’ power-play was 0-for-4, extending their drought to seven games and 23 man-advantage chances — although Evander Kane’s goal did come on a delayed penalty. But the Jets penalty kill was excellent in killing off four chances.

And raise your hand if you’ve heard this before, albeit from Stars’ head coach Lindy Ruff:

"We are going to have to figure something out because we are not getting the job done, especially when we need us. We got to figure it out. Because like I said, it can make a difference in a game when you get a 4-3 in overtime or a 5-4 late in the 3rd, whatever it is, that’s pretty big.

"It’s going up against their four hardest working players pretty much and we have to out work them and figure out a way to get it going."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

 

 

Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (right) makes a stop as Winnipeg Jets forwards Anthony Peluso (left) and Michael Frolik track the puck during the first period of Saturday night's game in Dallas.
Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec (right) blocks a shot from Dallas Stars winger Ray Whitney as Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien backchecks during the first period Saturday night's game in Dallas.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom controls the puck as Dallas Stars forward Vernon Fiddler (gives chase in the first period.
Winnipeg Jets' Anthony Peluso (left) dives to take a shot around the net against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (right) as Jordie Benn gives chase.
Dallas Stars defenceman Jordie Benn (left) and Winnipeg Jets winger Anthony Peluso collide as they race for a loose puck in the second period.
Winnipeg Jets center Olli Jokinen (centre) struggles against Dallas Stars defenceman Brenden Dillon in the second period.
Andrew Ladd (far left), Bryan Little (centre left) and Devin Setoguchi (right) congratulate Evander Kane on his second-period goal.
Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen blocks a shot from Andrew Ladd in the third period.
Olli Jokinen attempts a shot on a rebound against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen as defenceman Sergei Gonchar grapples with Devin Setoguchi in front of the net during overtime.
Andrew Ladd scores what would end up being the shootout-winning goal against Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn skates away after his shootout attempt against Ondrej Pavelec hit the post.
Ondrej Pavelec celebrates with Blake Wheeler after a shootout.

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