WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel was closely guarding whatever secrets there are to keep today about his lineup.
On the heels of Friday night’s home-ice comeback for a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Noel just wouldn’t budge today after practice, asked about any possible personnel changes for Sunday night’s home game against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. CT, TSNJets, TSN1290).
"It’s hard to say," Noel said. "I thought we played pretty well. It’s pretty hard to say if there will be much for lineup changes there."
Noel also sidestepped a question as to whether he’d give goalie Al Montoya his first start of the season against his old team on Sunday night.
"These are all things we’re going to manage," was Noel’s cryptic response.
Based on today’s practice at the MTS Iceplex, it looks as if there will be no changes among skaters. Noel used the same four lines in many drills that he did in Friday’s win, leaving it a good possibility that 19-year-old forward Mark Scheifele will watch his second game in a row.
The Jets may play Scheifele two more games before one of two things will happen — the first year of his contract would kick in or he’d be sent back to Barrie of the OHL.
Last season against the Islanders, the Jets were just 1-2-1. New York, which also missed the playoffs, won both games in Winnipeg.
A letdown Sunday is something the Jets would like to avoid.
"I think we’ll just prepare for every opponent," Noel said. "We’ve been out for eight months, nine months and I think there’s a lot of passion there to succeed in a short season. I think our guys are prepared to play this thing regardless of who the opponent is.
"The Islanders are 2-2 and they can hurt you. We’ll be looking to play them and continue our emotional level."