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On the bright side, road PK flippin' fantastic

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THEY'VE been on the wrong side of three straight games but the Winnipeg Jets take one asset into tonight's game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.

Winnipeg has been mostly excellent at killing penalties on the road all season -- the NHL's No. 2 team at 88.2 per cent -- and is on a roll.

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After last week's six-for-six game in Nashville, the Jets have killed 33 straight minors away from home dating back to Jan. 21 in Anaheim.

They have given up just two power-play goals on the road in 12 games in 2014.

 

Balancing act

WITH 17 games to play in the final 33 days of their regular season, preaching will have to be as effective as practising for coach Paul Maurice.

Despite having a number of flaws that could have used some attention after Saturday's 5-3 home loss to Ottawa, Maurice chose to rest most of his team on Sunday. Only 10 Jets put on their skates and for less than 30 minutes.

"We're balancing here now, balancing energy and execution," Maurice said. "I'll watch that as close as I can. We (practised) before the game (Saturday) because there was no morning skate and we needed to be on the ice. We're going to have that situation happen again.

"We're going to rest them until that point where we're not moving the puck. You need time on the ice and practice time, so we'll balance that as best we can.

"This whole stretch will be viewed more as a playoff series in terms of how we rest our team."

 

It should have helped

UNDER the category of "be careful what you wish for," you will find the Winnipeg Jets and faceoffs.

The Jets are the NHL's worst faceoff team this season, but have pulled off a rare triple in their last three games. They have prevailed in the faceoff statistics in each of the three, but come out with just a single point, that from an overtime loss to the Islanders on Tuesday.

Only one other time this season did the Jets managed to have three consecutive games besting their opponents in the faceoff circle. That came Nov. 23 to Nov. 27 when they pulled five of a possible six points from Minnesota, New Jersey and the Islanders.

 

Location, location

AFTER Thursday's night's perfect four-for-four in penalties -- all taken in the offensive zone -- the magnifying glass has switched to this topic.

Saturday, though the Jets had a couple of offensive-zone penalties, coach Paul Maurice wasn't as concerned about it.

"The stick ones just make you sour and it's just got to stop," he pointed out, insisting the team has much room to improve in this area.

"I'll be more patient with the hitting penalties," he said. "We don't want anybody getting hurt... but we want to finish those checks every day all day."

 

Maybe Wednesday

JETS right-winger Chris Thorburn, who was injured (upper body) in last Tuesday's home loss to the New York Islanders, has been a scratch the past two games and didn't accompany the team to Denver.

Maurice said Thorburn might, however, be ready to play Wednesday at home against Vancouver.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 10, 2014 C2

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