Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets coach Star-struck by playoff atmosphere

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ST. LOUIS -- Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice was still gushing here on Monday about the almost surreal playoff atmosphere that was in place at MTS Centre Sunday night during Winnipeg's crucial 7-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

"The building was fantastic (Sunday) night. It's good most nights, but there was a little haze on the ice -- I don't know if you noticed that when you came out," said Maurice. "It felt like an old-time (game) -- the games that you remember either watching them on TV or whatever. That was a playoff game. "People used to smoke in the buildings and there was a big haze at the top. It just felt right all night long -- the crowd was great and the guys had lots of jump."

Before Monday night's game against the Blues, Jets captain Andrew Ladd said Sunday's win over Dallas was exceptionally satisfying, snapping as it did a six-game losing streak during which the club didn't feel they played that badly.

"It's nice to get some results. After seeing the way we played the few games before, I thought we played well. Offensively, we generated lots of chances, we just couldn't seem to put pucks in the net. Nice to have a little outburst there and hopefully it gets a few guys going and gives you confidence in other areas...

"We've looked at video the last three or four games and we've been pretty consistent, especially in our forecheck and how we've created turnovers and chances. We've been pretty relentless on the puck. That's how we're going to be successful. It's nice to see some results come from there."


Fro putting on a show


Jets forward Michael Frolik has been on what's been nearly a career offensive tear since he was reunited with linemates Ladd and Bryan Little five games ago after a brief foray as a centre.

Heading into Monday's contest, Frolik had two goals and two assists in Winnipeg's last four games and was on a four-game scoring streak that was just one game short of a career-long streak for Frolik.

But while his offensive performance has stood out, Maurice said he's loved what Ladd-Little-Frolik have been doing to shut down opponents' top lines.

"That line plays off each other well and when you do the forecheck shifts alone, they're just on them all the time -- on the puck and not giving up anything off the rush," said Maurice. "(Frolik) makes a big difference there...Those guys have been really good in that role."


Settin' records, takin' names

The Jets tied a couple of franchise marks in that 7-2 thrashing of Dallas.

For starters, Blake Wheeler's four assists versus the Stars tied a franchise mark for assists in a single game, one Wheeler already held, having also recorded four assists in a 5-1 Jets win over Colorado Feb. 19, 2012.

Then there were the four Jets players -- Wheeler (4), Byfuglien (3), Jokinen (3) and Enstrom (3) -- who recorded three points or more versus the Stars. That's the first time that's happened for Jets 2.0 and just the second time in franchise history. The first time -- the Atlanta Thrashers' Ilya Kovalchuk (5 points), Pascal Rheaume (5 points), Dany Heatley (3 points) & Tony Hrkac (3 points) all had at least three points in a 6-1 win over Florida Jan. 19, 2002.

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2014 D3

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