Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets need to raise their game

Road woes troubling for players, Noel

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THEY'RE bringing home more disappointment than they had planned for but getting over it quickly will be the key for the Winnipeg Jets.

A 5-3 loss to the Bruins in Boston on Tuesday left the Jets with an unimpressive road trip of just one win in four attempts.

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The team stayed over in Boston and flew home on Wednesday and is right back on the ice today to face the San Jose Sharks at the MTS Centre.

Winnipeg's daunting month of nine road games out of 13 total now looks a little more palatable, but there's work to do. Beginning tonight, there are four home and five road games left in January and the Jets are still outside the Eastern Conference playoff line with 45 points (20-17-5).

Much of Tuesday's disappointment centred around pushing for three leads over the Bruins but then giving up the only three goals of the third period, including one eight seconds into the final frame.

Jets coach Claude Noel railed after the game about his team's third-period performance, mainly that they were unprepared and unsuccessful at stopping the Bruins' charge.

"I think we were capable and able," Noel said. "To me, we just didn't get it done."

Noel said the matter is part of the team's growth story but that still didn't make the defeat any easier to take.

And his players weren't ducking the story after the game, certainly crediting the Bruins for continuing to push the pace and increase the pressure but also taking responsibility for not doing enough to counteract that momentum.

"We have to find it within to create that intensity in those areas where we had lapses," said Jets winger Chris Thorburn. "It just comes with maturity and experience.

"We feel we have it in the locker-room. We just have to go out and do it."

Doing will be required, given a road road record of 6-11-4 that isn't improving. It's making their margin for error at home all the more slim.

Most NHL coaches, Noel included, break up the season into quarters. The loss in Boston on Tuesday opened up the third 20-game chunk for the Jets and was one of 12 road contests the team has during that span.

Compounding the concern, the Jets are 0-6 in the second of back-to-back contests. On Wednesday, the team said that both left-winger Tanner Glass (eye) and defenceman Zach Bogosian (lower body) are day-to-day. Both were hurt in Tuesday's loss.

Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien remains out with a lower-body injury and the team offered no new information on his status. Alex Burmistrov, who missed games Saturday and Tuesday with a "mid-level" injury, has been skating and is likely to be available tonight against the Sharks.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 12, 2012 C3

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