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Jets looking for redemption after Tuesday collapse

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IT was the morning after the nightmare before and the Winnipeg Jets -- still stinging from the pain of giving up two late goals in an overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers -- were saying and doing all the right things when they punched the clock for another work day.

Chins up... tomorrow is another game... soldier on... etc, etc.

But those kind of crushing defeats can often do one of two things for a hockey club: 1. It can leave a permanent emotional scar or 2. It can galvanize a team going forward.

And fans really won't get a feel for how the Jets will react until they take to the ice again tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It wasn't the best sleep I ever had but today's a new day and you gotta move forward," said captain Andrew Ladd Wednesday morning, just prior to an optional skate that featured eight players. "It's tough to get a good night's sleep because your mind is racing and you think about the things you could have done better and how you could have helped out a little bit more.

"But I think we have a good attitude in here today. We just don't have time to dwell on it."

And so while everyone outside of the Jets locker-room was lamenting a point lost after giving up the tying goal with 9.7 seconds left in regulation and the winner with 43 seconds in OT -- both spoiling a spectacular 50-save effort by netminder Ondrej Pavelec -- the players themselves were thankful possible redemption can come almost immediately.

That was also the message coming from coach Claude Noel post game -- Wednesday was one of those rare occasions when he didn't speak to the media -- and the players took notice of his effort to deal with the collapse positively and not with a heavy hand.

"He does a good job of picking his spots when to pound it in," said defenceman Mark Stuart of Noel. "Sometimes it needs to be pounded in if you're not quite getting it. But he knows we know how to play and we know (Tuesday) night was disappointing. At this time you need points and it's important to move on and concentrate on the next game."

And therein lies the most-important silver lining for the Jets: they have picked up seven of a possible eight points in their last four games and remain very much in the playoff picture with a 29-26-7 record and 65 points.

"There's a lot of good things we did in the game," said winger Chris Thorburn. "I know we got scored late in the game to send it into overtime. But what Pavelec did, our goaltending duo has been going all year and our power play is going good (has scored on its last five opportunities). There's also some stuff we can clean up.

"We move on. We gotta point, we should have got two, but we move on. We've got a Tampa Bay team coming here that we need to beat. We need to refocus here."

Defenceman Zach Bogosian again skated before his teammates as he attempts to recover from an injury. His status will likely be determined if he skates with the team this morning.

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

Jets Report C3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2012 C1

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