WINNIPEG — Brash claims about bounce-backs were few at Winnipeg Jets practice today, but it seems a good bet that Friday’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks isn’t one they can afford to lose if the playoffs are on their minds.
The Jets dropped a divisional game at home to Nashville on Tuesday night and now turn their attention to the Canucks, who hold that eighth and final Western Conference playoff position as of today.
The gap between Vancouver, at 63 points, and Winnipeg at 55, is wide, given that Friday’s game is the 56th of the season for both.
"We’ll see," Jets right-winger Michael Frolik said today, asked about a loss of confidence out of Tuesday’s loss. "It’s hard to say now but we lost one before (in San Jose) and we came back and hopefully we can do it again.
"I don’t think we can afford to lose two games in a row. We have to be ready for the start and get back on track."
Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler did not practice today but head coach Paul Maurice said he’ll be fine for Friday’s contest.
Forward Eric O’Dell was also missing, back in Ottawa and about to become a father.
The head coach, who is 6-2 since taking over the team Jan. 12, was fairly tight-lipped today about what he expects from Vancouver’s first visit to the MTS Centre for a regular-season game.
The Canucks have lost three of their last four, including Wednesday’s 5-2 home setback against Chicago.
"It’s a mistake to look at that game and think that you’re finding weaknesses in Vancouver’s game because of what Chicago did to them," Maurice said.