Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Coach's orders: simply move on

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WASHINGTON -- Paul Maurice won't spend any time looking in the rear-view mirror.

And he won't allow his Winnipeg Jets to do it, either.

"We'll leave this game entirely here," said the Jets coach after Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. "We're not bringing any of it on the plane.

"We'll look at the things structurally that are part of our game in every game, not just specific to the Washington game and just try to get better."

That won't be easy, seeing as Saturday's opponent is the St. Louis Blues, who knocked off the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime Thursday night to improve their home record to a gaudy 21-5-3.

But one of the many positive emerging trends of the Jets under Maurice has been an ability to shake off defeat quickly and get up off the mat and start throwing punches again.

The two previous losses on this recent run -- a 1-0 setback in San Jose and 4-3 home loss against Nashville -- were followed by two- and three-game win streaks, respectively.

"We have to take what we can from this game and finish strong before the break," said Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian, who logged 24 minutes and 56 minutes of ice time. "We obviously don't have anything to save it for so we've just got to give an all-out effort in St. Louis. They're a good team and it will be a good challenge for us."

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE: The win was critical for the Caps, who had been reeling and dealing with some injuries to their D corps. The two call-ups from Hershey, Julien Brouillette and Patrick Wey, were outstanding, both picking up assists and finishing +2.

"I told them both, 'Enjoy the moment. It can be overwhelming. Try and do the best you can and play as simple as you can,' " said Caps coach Adam Oates. "I thought they played with good confidence... they played really solid, very reliable and they moved the puck well."

MORE PRAISE FOR SCHEIFELE: Maurice has praised the Jets' rookie centre a couple of times on this trip for his work defensively. Interestingly, he was on the ice for two Capitals goals in the third period -- just the second time in the last 13 games he has been a minus player.

"I think maybe there is a bit of a surprise there to see somebody that young, that good in their own end," said Maurice prior to Thursday's game. "We have lots of confidence putting the puck in the middle of the ice with him on there... we want it on his stick in our end because he makes good decisions. Everyone has breakdowns, but as far as centre-ice men, he's on par with everybody we have in terms of what he's able to do down there.

"He thinks the game very well in his end and plays off people well. He's got a calm and a confidence down there that you don't see in young guys. He's not chasing the puck and he's picked up our structure of what our defensive zone is supposed to look like very, very quickly."

Maurice also praised Scheifele for how much he studies the game and other players as part of his quick development as a solid defender.

"I mean this in a positive way, he's kind of one of the hockey nerds of the world," said Maurice. "A lot of guys have no idea what day of the week it is and they're great players. They just go out and play. He's on it."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2014 C3

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