Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane clicking with his new line

Frolik, Scheifele seem like good fit for him

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DENVER -- Is that a hint of an encouraging sign flickering within the daily tempest that seems to surround the Winnipeg Jets?

Could it be that a second scoring line has begun to identify itself?

Judge for yourself, but since left-winger Evander Kane has returned from his latest injury, the trio featuring Kane, centre Mark Scheifele and right-winger Michael Frolik has been a regular contributor on the scoresheet, backing up the team's No. 1 unit of Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd.

With his short-handed goal on Friday, Kane has four goals and six points in six games. Scheifele has six points in the same span and Frolik four.

'I think it's about communication, and knowing what I'm going to do with the puck and telling them when I'm skating down the wing where to go, type of thing'

-- Evander Kane

Kane clearly expressed his approval on Friday as the Jets prepared to meet the Colorado Avalanche tonight.

"Fro's actually a pretty underrated player," Kane said. "He thinks the game well, he makes plays. He has a pretty high skill level.

"Scheif is getting better at distributing the puck and making plays at higher speed and a faster pace.

"Communicating is a big thing for a line and to have success you have to talk and communicate on the ice. That way, you start to find out where each other is going to be."

There is evidence the line is starting to figure that out, that some chemistry is actually in play.

"We've had some consistency with being able to play together for some games now and that always helps," Kane said.

And even Kane is showing signs of blending in. He's most often the winger skating swiftly and driving to the net, not taking part so much in the playmaking.

But in the last few games, he has put his linemates in some good spots with passes of his own, including a couple of setups Friday for Scheifele that didn't quite pay off.

"It's unfortunate he didn't score on any of those," Kane said. "We're working well together and those guys are finding ways to get open. I think it's about communication, and knowing what I'm going to do with the puck and telling them when I'm skating down the wing where to go type of thing.

"And both are doing a good job. And it works both ways. It's funny, I think I've set Mark up more than he's set me up."

And then with a laugh: "So he's got some catching up to do and I'm not afraid to remind him of that."

Some goals from somewhere other than the team's top line will surely be a factor if there's any success ahead. And that was another subject on Kane's mind on Saturday.

"(Friday) was a lot better than losing, that's for sure," he said. "At the same time, we're not out of the gutter yet. We're still deep down. It has to be our mindset that one win is not going to get the job done, neither is two wins, three wins, four wins. You've got to put five, six, seven. I've said that all year long. That's what pushes you up in the standings.

"That's what gives you a chance to get in. In our situation, that's what we'll have to do; there's really no other choice."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2013 B3

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