They are in a good place – both mentally and physically – and they want to stay there.
But life in the National Hockey League always means you shouldn’t get too comfy. And that’s why as the Winnipeg Jets returned to work on Friday, fresh from a 4-3 win over the Tampa Lightning that moved them into top spot in the Southeast Division and the third seed in the Eastern Conference, it was all business.
"We leap-frogged over a couple of teams and it could happen to us in the next couple of days," said Jets’ winger Chris Thorburn. "The only thing we can control is how we play and winning hockey games and we’re taking care of that right now. Our main focus is St. Louis tomorrow."
Unbeaten in regulation in five games (4-0-1), the Jets have improved to 30-26-7, good for first in the Southeast and third in the Eastern Conference heading into Friday’s action. They’ll meet a tough Blues’ squad in a Saturday matinee at MTS Centre, the fifth of a critical eight-game homestand.
The Blues are 37-17-7 and trail Detroit by four points in the Central Division.
"They’re a tight-checking group," said Jets’ captain Andrew Ladd of the Blues. "They won’t give us much and we’re going to have to play a patient, tight-checking game ourselves. It’s going to be a good test for us. They play a really hard game and they’ve got a lot of big bodies over there. We’re going to have to be ready to play. They’ve got some mobile D, lots of offensive firepower and they are patient with their game."
The Jets did make a roster move Friday, placing forward Antti Miettinen on waivers. He did skate with the club, but he also waived his no-movement clause after being approached by management.
"I don’t know, it just gives them the option to (trade me) if they find someone to do it," said Miettinen. "I don’t want to be in the way of them (the Jets) doing what they want.
"I’m in the same spot I’ve been in every year, as all us players are. We’re close to deadline and there’s a chance players get moved. I treat it like every other year. I just happened to have that clause in the contract… it’s the same thing, as always."
Head coach Claude Noel said he won’t make a decision on who starts in goal for the Jets until later Friday and that defenceman Zach Bogosian, who is skating but not practicing, may now return early next week.
--With files from Adam Wazny