The Winnipeg Jets are embarking on another road trip/testing ground. And head coach Claude Noel is just as intrigued as everyone as to what might unfold this week and how his team will react.
The Jets, 3-1-1 to start the 2013 season, practised in Winnipeg this morning before chartering to Montreal. They’ll meet the Canadiens Tuesday at the Bell Centre and then play Florida and Tampa Bay in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday.
"I’m a little reluctant to put too much into the five games," Noel said Monday. "It’s little bit early. I like what I see, we all like what we see in the fact we’ve managed this thing and right now we’re 3-1-1. But let’s keep things in perspective. It’s a shortened season. We just want to make sure we control our balance a little bit because this thing could go everywhere and then we have to manage it with the same type of balance."
The Jets are riding a three-game win streak after victories over Washington, Pittsburgh and Sunday night’s come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win over the New York Islanders. But the victory over the Isles also exposed some sloppy play the team is vowing to clean up heading out on the road.
"Good teams find a way, even on a night when not everybody’s clicking," said defenceman Mark Stuart. "It’s two points at the end of the day, but we’ll talk about the things that we thought didn’t go too well.
"We want to win those games when they come, but hopefully they are few and far between. We’re playing well enough where we can get a lead and keep a lead. You don’t want to continue to get down like that. It’s hard, no matter how much confidence you have it’s tough in this league to come back, especially from two goals."
Noel said no decision has yet been made on whether Mark Scheifele will remain with the club or return to Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League. The Jets have five games in which to evaluate him before a year of his contract would be used up and the 2011 first-round draft pick, a healthy scratch over the last two games, has suited up for three.