Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pleased, but hardly satisfied

Current play has Jets smiling but they know it's a marathon

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Amid the back-slapping, the high-fives and the good vibe growing in Jetsville, a message from inside the clubhouse:

This two-game home winning streak and 9-3-1 run over the last 13 games is dandy as heck, but it means diddly and squat unless the finish line results in a playoff spot. So the common refrain for the Winnipeg Jets is this -- soak it in, enjoy the moment... and then get ready for Saturday in Toronto.

"Every hockey game should be like that," said Ondrej Pavelec, who was again solid in earning the win. "You want to win, you battle for two points. If you look at the standings we know where we are and who's in front of us. But we have to focus on ourselves and be ready to show up every night. It's our job and we're doing it very well right now.

"This is fun. Our fans... they've been like this all season long but at the beginning of the year we didn't give them a reason to cheer for us. But, like I always say, tomorrow is another day. This is one game. There are a lot of games in front of us. This is no reason to be satisfied. I mean, we have to keep going because if we were to lose four or five we'd be in trouble.

"But," added Pavelec with a grin, "when we play like this, it's fun. This is how you enjoy the game. I just want us to keep this going."

The win evened the Jets' home record at 6-6 and helped re-establish the MTS Centre as a tough building for visiting teams. Winnipeg is in Toronto and Ottawa this weekend and will then play 12 of its final 19 at home.

"It's good, obviously. When you're winning it's a great mood," said Zach Bogosian. "But we can't get ahead of ourselves. We've been playing some pretty good hockey, but we've got to keep it up. We can't be satisfied now. We've got to keep the foot on the pedal."

ONE UP, ONE STILL WATCHING: The Jets made another roster move Thursday, recalling goaltender Eddie Pasquale from St. John's for precautionary reasons after Al Montoya aggravated a previous injury. Jets coach Claude Noel said Montoya pulled up lame during Wednesday's practice.

"He's played so well for us that we wanted to make sure that he looks after it," said Noel. "I don't think it's a long-term thing."

Meanwhile, Alex Burmistrov sat out for the second straight game as Patrice Cormier stepped in for Jim Slater (hand) on a line with Chris Thorburn and Eric Tangradi.

Asked earlier in the day about the message that would send to Burmistrov, Noel said:

"For me, you coach the game to win the game. That's what I do. How you send messages is really determined by a lot of different factors. (Burmistrov) is probably unhappy that he is out and he has to do the right things to get back and play. He's a good player. It will work itself out."

SICK BAY UPDATE: Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom, who has missed 14 games with a suspected shoulder injury, was back on the ice for Thursday's game-day skate wearing an orange, non-contact jersey. No timetable has been set for his return.

"We haven't set a time yet for anything," said Enstrom. "This is my first practice with the team. It's fun to be back with the guys again. I've been skating by myself for a long time. I'll probably practise tomorrow and see how that feels. I'm looking to come back as quick as I can, but I'm going to be careful with it, too."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2013 C3

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