Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets still learning how to win close ones

  • Print
Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec covers up while blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien (in red) and forward James Wright crash the net during Wednesday's practice at the MTS Centre. Winnipeg hosts Colorado tonight.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec covers up while blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien (in red) and forward James Wright crash the net during Wednesday's practice at the MTS Centre. Winnipeg hosts Colorado tonight. Photo Store

Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel has suggested several times this season that while his team is not yet playing -- or winning -- at the level of a playoff team, he believes they are "close."

Well, it turns out the numbers not only back up Noel's assertion, they suggest the Jets are "closer" -- at least in one sense -- than any other team in the NHL right now.

With a 2-1 defeat to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at the MTS Centre, the Jets have now been involved in 19 one-goal games this season, tying them for the league lead in that category with the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames.

Of course, being involved in one-goal games is one thing. Winning them is quite another -- as the woeful Flames and Islanders can attest. And therein lies the rub when it comes to the Jets, who are just 7-8-4 in one-goal games this season -- a .421 winning percentage that ranks them 22nd in the NHL.

The portrait that emerges is one of a team that can compete with any other team in the league -- like they did this week against the Blues -- but which must still learn how to win -- as they didn't Tuesday against the Blues.

So what now? What do you do after a game that saw you grind out 60 minutes of what by consensus was some of your club's best defensive play of the season only to lose in the dying minutes of the third period on a seeing-eye, knuckle-puck goal?

Buckle up and buckle down.

"It's really disappointing," Jets defenceman Mark Stuart said, "but you've got to move on and get ready for the next game. So that was our focus today -- having a good skate and a good practice and getting ready for Colorado."

Indeed, if there was any silver lining behind the tough loss to the Blues on Tuesday, it was that the Jets didn't have much time to feel sorry for themselves with the Avalanche already in town to provide a new test at the MTS Centre tonight.

If past performance is the most reliable predictor of future performance, expect yet another close-checking, one-goal, nail-biter game tonight out of the Jets against another Central Division rival.

"It's definitely not an easy game -- you've got to be ready to go for the whole 60 minutes," said Jets centre Bryan Little of his club's propensity for the close game. "You saw (Tuesday) night, if you ever let up, it's in the back of your net.

"It's definitely not an easy game playing in the one-goal games, but it's something we're comfortable with. And we're giving ourselves a chance to win every night when we're in close games."

Noel was asked how his team can go about turning those "chances to win" into actual wins.

"That's what we're all challenged with. We're trying to grow and grow at a faster rate, but it's not going as fast as we'd like," said Noel.

 

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2013 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Glenn January won't blame offensive line for first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings enjoy Fridays warm weather to soak up some sun and gobble some grass on Heckla Ave in Winnipeg Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 DAY goose challenge - May 18, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google