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This article was published 29/1/2015 (2553 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
PHILADELPHIA — They are more Rocky Balboa than Apollo Creed, showing an ability to take a punch and still pull themselves up off the mat, not dance around the ring flicking jabs and firing upper-cuts.
And now the Winnipeg Jets collective toughness — both mental and physical — is going to be tested again in the rounds ahead after Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Flyers in the Italian Stallion’s hometown.
Consider: Since dropping four straight games early in the season, from Oct. 11-19th, the Jets have not lost more than two in a row during any stretch the rest of the way.
The Jets lost two straight to Detroit and St. Louis in November, two to Minnesota and the Islanders in December and two to San Jose and Arizona earlier this month.
And here they are again.
"It’s nothing major, it’s not like there’s a lot of things going on wrong in the game," said Jets netminder Michael Hutchinson. "We just need to tweak a few things here and there and after that, just forget it. We’ve got to come back and play at home in front of our home fans and we have to come out with good energy and have a good start like we usually do."
"We have to get back to the game that we need to play," added Jets coach Paul Maurice. "There’s pieces of our game that aren’t really good right now. But we’ll get back to it."
Asked if one of those pieces was their 5-on-5 play and whether they need to get a lot better at that, Maurice offered a polite smile and added:
"I’d like to get a little bit better at it."
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: The Jets No. 1 line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler did not appear on the scoresheet in both Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, despite seeing a good chunk of power-play time against the Flyers.
SAY WHAT?: The Flyers and Jets met for the first time since a heated game back in Winnipeg on Dec. 21st. That contest ended with Dustin Byfuglien and Flyers coach Craig Berube barking at each other as they left the ice after the Jets defenceman had delivered some crushing hits.
Understandably, that was part of the discussion after the Flyers’ morning skate.
"I don’t know if Byfuglien or Chief (Berube) would get in a fight tonight, but I would like to see that," said Flyers star Claude Giroux.
Added Berube, with a smile, when told of Giroux’s comments: "I’m too old for that stuff."
Later, Byfuglien was approached with the same question. "I’m too old for that stuff, too."
NOTABLE NUMBERS: Nick Schultz scored his first goal as a Flyer and his first since April 8, 2013, snapping a 125-game goalless streak... Philly won 62 per cent of the faceoffs, led by Brandon product Ryan White, who went 9 for 10... The Jets and Flyers combined for 94 hits Thursday (53 by Winnipeg). On Tuesday the Jets and Pens combined for 110 hits (Winnipeg, 58). According to the Elias Sports Bureau that was the highest total recorded since Nov. 11, 1999 when Washington and the Rangers combined for 112.