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This article was published 22/12/2015 (2173 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CALGARY — Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice was cranking up the enthusiasm this morning despite his team’s latest encounter with rough waters.
The Jets have lost two of their last three games, including Monday’s jaw-dropping 3-1 setback in Edmonton, where they bested the Oilers in shot attempts, 83-37.
But Maurice sounded more optimistic than ever this morning at the Scotiabank Saddledome, where his team goes against the Calgary Flames tonight (TSN3, TSN1290) at 8 p.m. CT.
"I like our last three," the chipper coach said this morning before an optional skate. "We’ve played really well in our last three. As I’ve said before, I’ve liked 14 of our last 15 to be honest with you."
The Jets sit a game below the .500 mark at 15-16-2, seemingly spinning their wheels to the bottom of the difficult Central Division.
That’s not how the coach sees it, though.
"I think we’re in a lot better shape than the standings look," he said. "I like the way our game is being played. We’ve been in some some games and have had some tough defeats lately but we’ve played right and played hard."
To further explain his outlook, Maurice pointed out that the Jets will have played 24 road games by the time their next road trip ends Jan. 8.
"And after tonight, eight sets of back-to-back in less than 40 games, which is fine if you’re in the East but it’s more of a challenge when you live in Winnipeg," he said. "We just need to be in striking distance when we get off the road and give ourselves a chance because maybe then we’ll have the benefit that maybe other teams have had in terms of some rest and schedule until we hit March 1."
If they can stay in touch, the Jets’ schedule is also back-loaded with home games, 11 of them in March.
In the meantime, there is no extra angst about their Central predicament, the coach said.
"There’s no standings meeting every morning to see where we’re at. Everybody knows," he said.
The Jets will come back with Michael Hutchinson in goal tonight after he relieved Connor Hellebuyck in Edmonton.
Hutchinson, who hasn’t had a start since Dec. 6, faced just seven shots in Edmonton over the last 32-plus minutes of the game.
After tonight’s game, the Jets are off until Dec. 27, when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the MTS Centre.
The Flames are coming off the road, where the dropped the final two games of their trip after running off seven straight wins.