The Winnipeg Jets are deep into their the "next game is the biggest game" mantra, but excuse them if they felt the urge to take at least a few more to bask in the glow of Friday night’s win over the Stanley-Cup champions.
And so it was for the handful of Jets who were around at an optional skate Saturday morning, just hours after polishing off the Boston Bruins 4-2 in a victory Friday night that was all about resiliency and helped keep the team’s playoff hopes from flat-lining.
"That was a big two points in the right direction," said winger Tanner Glass. "We’re creeping back towards that line again and last night the way we did it, with the comebacks and the adversity we had to fight through… that was big. Getting those late goals in the third period when we really needed them was big and our first line really took over the game offensively and scored some big goals for us. Those guys have been working so hard all year long and to see them get rewarded was awesome.
"It’s funny… We’ve been working hard all along and we have confidence we can win, but for whatever reason we haven’t been able to put a few in a row together. I guess we haven’t done that with only two (wins), but at least we’re going in the right direction and we feel confident about our game."
The Jets essentially had the morning off -- only Eric Fehr, Nik Antropov and Mark Flood skated – as they are in a stretch of games that will see them play three games in four nights. That stretch wraps up Sunday night at MTS Centre when the Colorado Avalanche are in town (7:30 p.m.; TSN Jets/TSN Sports Radio).
Winnipeg remains 10th in the Eastern Conference and third in the Southeast Division at 28-26-6 after wins over the Bruins and Minnesota Wild last Thursday. And what has impressed head coach Claude Noel the most about those last two results is how the Jets rebounded when faced with adversity – a positive development for a squad that has occasionally wilted in those circumstances this year.
That was never more evident than early in the third period of Friday’s win when the Jets surrendered a goal 49 seconds in to tie the score at 2-2 and then took a penalty 54 seconds later.
"As a coach you’re happy to see that resiliency back," Noel said. "We’ve seen it before, but we lost it there for awhile. It’s good to see we stayed with it. You look through the notes and you see that Boston is a +33 goal differential in the third… we talked a little bit about it before the game and again after the second period. And then they came out and scored in the first shift and I thought, ‘Oh, how is this going to go?’ But the guys battled.
"And I know one thing today: I like winning more than I like losing. That’s good, eh? Write that down… winning is better than losing. That’s going to be the quote of the day tomorrow. ‘Winning is better than losing.’ Should I attach my name to that one? That’s C. Noel."
The Jets are uncertain about the availability of defenceman Zach Bogosian for Sunday’s game against the Avs. He skated on his own for about 30 minutes on Saturday and a further assessment will be made Sunday.