Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane still optimistic with eye on Tampa

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If there's any panic or worry inside of the Winnipeg Jets dressing room after a pair of lopsided losses to the Washington Capitals this week, you weren't getting it from Evander Kane.

The Jets' left-winger might have flashed a hint of disappointment but that was the extent of it after Friday's 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Caps at the MTS Centre.

"Obviously it wasn't the miniseries at home we were looking for," Kane said after another one-sided game.

"But we said it last game and it's the same thing, we can't dwell on this loss. We have to move on and get ready for Tampa Bay and try to remain in first place."

That game will be at the MTS Centre Sunday night.

In the meantime, today's off-day -- it appears unlikely the team will practise -- will provide some time for reflection.

Or maybe anger?

"Tomorrow, what will we be thinking?" Kane said. "I like to have a little bit of a two-hour rule, that you think about the game right now and then you just forget about it, whether it's a good one or a bad one.

"Tomorrow I'm going to come to the rink and enjoy my day and get ready to play Tampa Bay on Sunday."

Kane refused to go down the road towards the theory that the double loss to the Caps, and the style with which it occurred, erased all the good the Jets had accomplished in the 6-1-1 mark they posted before this week's Washington series.

"I don't think it does. We were 6-1-1 and now we've lost two in a row so we have to rebound on Sunday," he said. "We lost a game. It's the way this league works. You get an opportunity to play the next night or a day later and we look forward to playing Tampa on Sunday."

His optimism for what's ahead also still seemed to be intact.

"This is just a speed bump," Kane said. "Some adversity for us. Come playoffs, if you get down 2-0 in a series you have to find a way to battle back. So this could be helpful for us.

"We have 17 some games left in the season and we need to continue to collect points. We feel we are a playoff team and we're not going to settle for anything less. Our division race is tight every night, we know what we need to do and we've proven we can go 10-2-3 over a 15-game span and that's pretty much what's left so that's our goal and we won't settle for not making the playoffs.

Kane, who continues to lead the NHL in shots on goal, now up to 133, felt the Jets weren't far off course in Friday night's first period, even though it ended the same way as Thursday's, with the Caps ahead 2-0.

"I thought we had a better start to the first period," he said.

"I think we outshot them by about 15 shots (31-24 on the game). I think we got more pucks to the net, which is what we wanted to do but like I said, we had some scoring opportunities but we didn't have enough."

Kane rattled a short, hard shot off the cross-bar behind Caps goalie Braden Holtby just moments before the Caps forged ahead 2-0.

"We had some... if you look back to just before their second goal, I hit the crossbar and it could have been a 1-1 game and they went down and scored," he said. "Some of the bounces didn't go our way but at the same time, we didn't get enough quality chances and we didn't make enough plays to create offensive opportunities for ourselves."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from Gary Lawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 C2

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