WITH the once slumbering Winnipeg Jets' power play erupting for two goals Friday night in a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the MTS Centre, the talk at Jets practice on Saturday turned to the recent struggles of the other half of the club's special teams.
The Jets penalty kill was in the top third of the NHL barely a week ago, but has now slumped to 18th in the 30-team league after yielding five power-play goals in the last three games.
Jets head coach Claude Noel said Saturday he's not pushing the panic button just yet, for the same reasons he didn't when his club was mired in a 1-46 slump with its power play heading into Friday's game.
For one thing, Noel says, these things happen on special teams. And for another, well, we'll let him explain.
"The penalty kill is like the power play -- it becomes cyclical, really. You're going good, you're not going good," said Noel. "We've given up 15 power-play goals, I believe. And of those 15, 10 of them are in five games. So we've given up two (power-play) goals in five games. And of those five games, four of them we've won.
"So...I don't know what that means," Noel laughed. "But we know it's going to be up and down."
The Jets gave up two power-play goals on Sunday to San Jose and on Tuesday to Detroit and another to Philadelphia on Friday night. They won all three games.
Jets centre Olli Jokinen says he has the simplest solution ever to solving the Jets recent penalty killing problems.
"The best penalty kill," said Jokinen, "is to stay out of the penalty box."
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With two assists on Friday, Jokinen now has three multi-point games in 2013 and his 12 points in 21 games almost equals the 14 points he mustered in 45 games last season.
Jokinen said Saturday he has no interest in discussing what's already happened.
"I think everybody realizes here that whatever happened in the last game, it's behind us," said Jokinen.
"You've got to more forward and try to be good in the next game. And that's what the focus has been."
While his club is on a season-long four-game winning streak, Jokinen said there's no reason yet for his teammates to exert themselves patting each other on the back.
"We're one game over .500," he said.
"It's not the place where we want to be... We believe in this room that there is a next level in our team. And that's where we're trying to go. Once we get there, we've got to take that next step to be the top team in the league. Right now, we're middle of the pack or whatever."
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The Jets' current run of three consecutive shootout victories is rare but hardly unprecedented -- the Phoenix Coyotes also won three straight games in a shootout earlier this season in a run that extended from Oct. 31-Nov. 5.
The NHL record for consecutive shootout victories is four, set by the Pittsburgh Penguins March 21-27, 2011.
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