Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trying to learn from error of their ways

Have to come out harder than in Philly

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TARRYTOWN , N.Y. -- The tug-of-war continues for the Winnipeg Jets.

And for their fans, too.

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Reaction to Friday's early-start defeat in Philadelphia, which saw the team play a first period that was one of its most inept of the season, varied.

Some hard-core fans wanted the entire team tied to the nearest set of railroad tracks.

Others were more lenient after the 2-1 loss, willing to forgive a bad day with a view that the NHL can be a dog-eat-dog world.

So it seemed reasonable to ask what the team is hearing and thinking as it prepares for tonight's game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

"I don't think you want to brush it off and not realize we need to do better in a lot of different areas, especially at the start of the game," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said after Sunday's practice in the New York suburbs. "You don't need to dwell on them and let them pull you down, either.

"I think everyone knows what we need to do to be successful. I talked (Saturday) about bouncing back and it will tell us something about the group.

"We'll be ready to go."

The opportunity to reveal some character is precisely what Jets coach Claude Noel is thinking.

"Friday, what happened Friday?" Noel said, trying to make his point that he's well past harping about the game in Philadelphia.

"It's done with. We've moved past that. The onus goes on all of us to see where we take a step. To me, we need to take a step and decide how we want to have the season go. Reflective of that game, you can't play two out of three periods and expect to win in this league. I thought that's what we did."

One of the team's alternate captains, defenceman Mark Stuart, was like Ladd, in not wanting to just brush the troubling game aside.

"You have to be aware of it," Stuart said. "If you're just striking that off as an off-day, you've got problems.

"I think guys realize we can't come out and start a game like that. You won't win in this league if play like that for a full period."

And Stuart pointed out the Jets can only affect the future, not the past, and that future still includes three more games on this six-game road trip. They're 2-1 so far.

"We did battle back (Friday)," he said. "Didn't get the win but we almost feel like we threw one away because of the way we started. It's a big one tomorrow and you can't dwell on it. Now it's just a matter of the next three games here, trying to get six points."

The Jets put in a concentrated 70 minutes' worth of practice -- on a variety of areas. Saturday's workout in Central Park was less a practice and more just a fun team outing.

"Today was good," Noel said. "We had a lot of stuff we wanted to cover because yesterday's practice (in Central Park) was more a fun day... It was a tough day but we covered a fair bit of stuff, including power play, which we needed to do more of."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Searching for the elusive PP C3

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 2, 2013 C1

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