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Jets agree: Time for talking is over

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Olli Jokinen gets tied up with Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen during the second period.

It was a common refrain in the Winnipeg Jets dressing room, but those spitting out the message fully understand the words also ring particularly hollow.

The Jets served up a decent effort in the third period of Friday night's loss to the Dallas Stars when their battle level improved and the scoring chances followed as a result.

But when it comes in the wake of falling behind 4-zip -- and with the visitors easing off the gas pedal to preserve the victory -- it means absolutely diddly and squat where it matters most: in the black and white of the NHL standings.

"We're five games in. It's still very early. I think we know what we have in this room," said Evander Kane. "I think somebody said in the room, and I couldn't agree more -- we can talk all we want to you guys and talk X's and O's and talk about confidence and this and that. But that's not going to do dick-all for us. Pardon my language. But we've got to go out there and play, and for us, it's not something we can worry about.

"I don't think we're panicking. It's just frustrating. We started off well. We got a lot of shots tonight, but we weren't able to get the quality scoring chances... It's just more frustrating. I don't think anybody is pushing the panic button. We just need to get back on our horse and finish this homestand strong."

The loss was the Jets' third straight after a 2-0 start to the season and was pockmarked by a mistake-filled first period in which the Stars opened up a 3-0 advantage. Coach Claude Noel opted not to yank starting netminder Ondrej Pavelec after the opening period and was quick to defend him afterward.

"We can't make those kind of mistakes and expect our goaltender to save us like he has in previous games," said Noel. "The mistakes we made were correctable. We should have been smarter and we should have been better in those areas. I thought our goalie was good in the game and he certainly wasn't the one that was to blame for the game.

"We were better in the faceoff circle. We were better in the physicality of the game and we were better in winning battles. We were better with our urgency. I know people will say, 'Well, the score...' I saw something from a coaching standpoint. We played with a lot more vim and vigour.

"If we had played like (Thursday) night (against Minnesota), that would be a really big concern of mine because we really were empty. We had no emotion. At least we had emotion in the game and we're trying to get this thing corrected."

Trying and doing are two different things, however, and the Jets need to back up all their talk.

"We're going to have a lot of long nights if we don't straighten that out," said Zach Bogosian. "We have to make sure we understand that. A lot can be said, but we have to go out there and do it." Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2013 C11

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