The Winnipeg Jets have taken off, again, for another road date outside of Manitoba.
The question now is whether they can avoid more turbulence or if they will continue their nosedive out of the NHL playoff picture.
The Jets practised at MTS Iceplex Wednesday morning in advance of Thursday’s date in St. Paul vs. the Minnesota Wild. Winnipeg has dropped two straight and is 4-6 in its last 10, but remains in 10th place in the Eastern Conference at 26-26-6 – four points back of the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
The game against the Wild will mark the end of a long stretch of games dominated by road trips. Winnipeg returns home to face Boston Friday at MTS Centre, the first of eight in a row at home that could ultimately determine whether the Jets are playing meaningful games come mid-April.
Minnesota, meanwhile, continues to tumble down the Western Conference standings. Where they were ranked first overall when they met the Jets on Dec. 13, the Wild are now 25-23-8 and in 12th in the West.
"(The Wild) are a good team that seems to be struggling right now, as are we," said Chris Thorburn. "Both teams are going to be starving for two points. It’s going to be emotional.
"We’ve just got to win one game and get everything clicking… power-play, penalty-kill, even strength. We need to get some goals in the net, get some confidence and get rolling here and hopefully there will be a snowball effect where we put three or four together."
Jets’ head coach Claude Noel did some work with the players on the team’s struggling power-play at Wednesday’s practice, even trying the GST checking line of Thorburn, Jim Slater and Tanner Glass with the man advantage.
"I don’t know if we’re good enough on the power play to exclude anybody right now," said Noel. "I just think that people have to be aware that it’s a privilege to play on the power play. If it’s not going, let’s see what else can get going."