The Winnipeg Jets spent zero time today – to borrow a phrase from Claude Noel – separating their shoulders patting themselves on the back following their win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Instead, they were all business at MTS Iceplex before departing in the afternoon for Chicago, where they’ll meet the Blackhawks Wednesday night (7 p.m. TSN, TSN 1290). Little wonder: heading into Wednesday night’s action the Jets, now 6-8-2, remain at the bottom of the Central Division and haven’t posted consecutive wins since knocking off Edmonton and Los Angeles in the first two games of the season.
"We’re just going to try and build on this last game," said Jets’ captain Andrew Ladd. "We did a lot of good things and from those good things we gained some confidence in knowing how to play and knowing what we need to do to be successful. Hopefully we can carry that into Chicago, a team that we had a tough game against the other day."
Although he wasn’t on the ice again today, left winger Evander Kane (lower body) did make the trip to Chicago with the squad and will be assessed on Wednesday.
Now, while it was all about nose to the grindstone today, Noel did admit the Jets’ effort against the Wings -- a solid 60-minute performance that was arguably their best of the season – does help boost the confidence of a club that hasn’t always handled adversity well.
But, as is always the case in the NHL, it’s not about doing it just once, but two, three, four, five times in a row.
"Our goal is to be consistently solid in back-to-back games," said Noel. "We finally played a decent game and got rewarded for it. When you watch the tape, there’s a lot of good things that we did. We played Chicago basically 20 minutes and did some things that cost us against a team that we knew that if we played the way we played, that could happen.
"We’re going to have focus on smaller increments of the game, keep our focus on the first 20 minutes and maybe stay away from the result of the game and more on the way we need to play. There were a lot of good things we did in the game from a technical standpoint.
"(Falling behind 2-1 against the Wings) didn’t swing the emotional pendulum as it has in the past. For us, we try to keep the focus more on the process and the things we can control rather than the big-picture things. That really helped us a bit. Having said that, we’ve played one good game. We need to prove to ourselves that we can become more consistent and try and get ourselves playing another good 60 minutes. That’s really what we have to get done here.
"Chicago is going to be a good test, they’re a good team. If you’re going to have poor puck management they’re going to show you again that you can’t do that against them."