Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets get out of town fast

No time to relax, facing red-hot Colorado tonight in Denver

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Tony Gutierrez / The Associated Press

Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (right) makes a stop as Winnipeg Jets forwards Anthony Peluso (left) and Michael Frolik track the puck during the first period of Saturday night's game in Dallas.

DALLAS -- If hockey fans have learned anything about the Winnipeg Jets over these two-plus years, it might be this: Their frustrating inconsistency often means they handle boons and blessings as well as they handle adversity -- not very well.

And so maybe it's a good thing the Jets, who served up a solid effort in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars Saturday night, were airborne immediately after the game for Denver and a meeting with the Colorado Avalanche, 9-1 to start the season, this evening.

"That was one of our better games, especially the first 40 minutes when we played pretty good," said veteran Olli Jokinen. "That was a big win for the team. We can move on, try and put this game behind us and focus on the next one.

"We're a .500 hockey team so there's no reason to plan the parade."

Yup, that just about sums up this team perfectly. Now 5-5-2, they last posted back-to-back wins at the start of the season when they opened with victories over Edmonton and Los Angeles. Since then it's kind of been all over the map in a 3-5-2 run.

"We've just got to go game-by-game, we can't really worry about who we're playing against," Jokinen said. "We've got to play our way. We can't get satisfied having the one win here. That's our second win in four-five games, whatever it is. To me, we're a .500 hockey club. This gives us confidence. We want to take those steps forward. We don't want to be in the position where we have one good game and then take a few steps back. That's been the case for us in the first 12 games.

"We've got to have the right mindset and play the way we did tonight, build off this game and try to be better, try to improve."

All that said...

"If we had said at the start of the trip we'd have three out of the first four points, we definitely would have taken that," said Andrew Ladd. "It's nice having a win heading into (Denver) against a really tough team. We're going to have to be playing with the confidence and the jam we had tonight.

"Confidence-wise, this is a big thing."

PP SPECIAL: The Jets' power play was 0-for-4, extending their drought to seven games and 23 man-advantage chances -- although Evander Kane's goal did come on a delayed penalty. But the Jets penalty kill was excellent in killing off four chances.

And raise your hand if you've heard this before, albeit from Stars head coach Lindy Ruff:

"We are going to have to figure something out because we are not getting the job done, especially when we need to. We got to figure it out. Because like I said, it can make a difference in a game when you get a 4-3 in overtime or a 5-4 late in the third, whatever it is, that's pretty big.

"It's going up against their four hardest-working players pretty much and we have to outwork them and figure out a way to get it going."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 27, 2013 B2

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