Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Miles and miles to go, says Olli

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ENCOURAGING signs? Yes. But veteran Jets centre Olli Jokinen hopes his teammates are ready to keep working on their shortcomings as they prepare for the next test tonight at the MTS Centre against the Nashville Predators (7 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN1290).

The Jets fell behind early Friday against the St. Louis Blues and then rallied from down 3-1 in the third to win 4-3 in a shootout.

"I think there's some positives but at the same time, it's a good thing we came back against that team," Jokinen said. "They don't usually blow up leads. We still have a lot of room to improve. They hit the post three times.

"I think we can be happy with the two points to get a win but you've got to still realize that it was far from perfect."

Odd-man rushes against and spells of being a little too passive were areas Jokinen singled out for work.

"We have pretty good size on our team, a lot of fast skaters, so we have to make sure the puck goes all the way down to the other team's goal line, that way we'll spend more time in the offensive zone," Jokinen said.

After scoring in Friday's first period, Jokinen had the game-deciding goal in the seventh round of the shootout, a hard and accurate wrist shot from in close.

"It felt good," he said. "It's always feels good to score. I went back to my old move. I've scored a lot of goals with that move in shootouts. It's been in the toolbox the last couple of years, haven't used it."

Devin down

It was a surprise and not one that Jets coach Claude Noel sat out right-winger Devin Setoguchi on Friday night.

In seven games, the veteran had two goals and one assist. Noel said after the 4-3 shootout win over St. Louis that something had to change after the Jets had lost four of their previouis five outings.

Saturday, Setoguchi said the move caught his attention.

"It's not something that you want," he said. "Obviously he didn't think my play was where it should have been. He made a change. For me, you can't really dwell on it, you can't pout, you just go work and try to get back in.

"Obviously there's a lot more. We were struggling collectively as a group. And individually, myself, I've got to be better than that."

Setoguchi said he was planning to talk to Noel about the matter.

"Devin's a good player," Noel said. "He needs to have the puck more. He needs to come to the puck more. He needs to come to the inside of the rink more, get more involved."

Message for Evander

Noel had other moves going Friday as well.

After watching left-winger Evander Kane take his fifth penalty in five periods, the coach sat Kane down for about a 10-minute stretch after the second-period high-sticking penalty was over.

"Obviously it bothered me," Kane said. "I don't enjoy not playing. It gets me out of the game a little bit. But that's part of that FU attitude I talked about. I'll leave it at that."

Kane returned to play a role in the comeback. His third-period goal with lerss than seven minutes to play brought the Jets to just down a goal at 3-2.

Why Peluso?

Noel was asked why he chose Anthony Peluso, normally a low-minute fourth-line forward known more for his fists than scoring hands, for the fifth round of the shootout on Friday.

Peluso did not get much of a shot away, failing to score.

"A lot of people would say, 'Why Peluso?' but Peluso in the two years he's been here has clearly been dominant in practice in shootouts," the coach said. "I know it's different in games because he'd like to have that one back. You get more chances in practice that you do in games but for me he was a guy who had done very well.

"I had no qualms about it but I can understand why people would say that. But he's got a good shot."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 20, 2013 B4

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