Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Powerful Pens looked 'frightening' to Winnipeg

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It's a term Ondrej Pavelec has used time and again this season, after blowout wins and crushing losses in an attempt to put the grind that is the 82-game regular season into perspective:

"Tomorrow is another day..."

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He spit it out again on Wednesday after the Jets practised at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but it came with a different tone. Tuesday's 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins -- a game in which he was yanked -- not only stings, it had many Jets, Pavelec included, marvelling at their opponents' firepower.

"That's a great team and those guys are from a different world right now," said Pavelec. "They own the game. They do whatever they want all night long and it's tough to play against them. That's one of the best teams in the league.

"At the end of the day, it's another loss. We'll get some rest and get ready for the next game. Tomorrow is another day, but we're in the situation where we need help from other teams. We own our destiny, but we need help."

There's an old saying about respecting an opponent, but fearing no one. But there was also a collective 'Wow' as the Jets talked about their opponents Tuesday and how the Penguins kept throwing one dominant line after another over the boards.

"I think the mentality was there as far as defending, I just don't know that we were able," said Jet coach Claude Noel. "That's a big difference. Your want is one thing... I mean, you watch them move the puck around on the power play and it was a little bit frightening. They looked like they had eight guys out there, not five. We looked like we had two. They were making plays on the power play that were a little bit frightening."

-- SICK BAY UPDATE: Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom all skipped practice but will be in the lineup Friday against the Caps. The same can't be said about Eric Fehr, who is with the team on the trip but didn't play against the Pens and is doubtful against his old club Friday.

"We don't know about Eric," said Noel. "We brought him with the hope everything would be OK with him, but we're not sure."

-- GOOD REVIEWS: Noel praised the work of two recent call-ups from St. John's, Spencer Machacek and Ben Maxwell. Machacek has three points in two games since joining the Jets, including two points against the Pens. And Maxwell also picked up a helper against Pittsburgh.

"He was good when he was here before," Noel said of Machacek. "I didn't have any thoughts with regards to 'He needs to be this, he needs to be that.' He's played well for us. He's contributed. He had some decent energy in the game. He had a couple of turnovers on one shift against (Evgeni) Malkin which I didn't like much, but you've got to recognize who you're playing against. But I'm happy with him. Same with Maxwell. He did a good job."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2012 D3

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