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This article was published 12/11/2014 (2578 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- They are steadfastly resolute what they're doing with a focus on defence to start the 2014-15 season is the right way to do things, that they're not going to change it.
So don't dwell too long with any of the Winnipeg Jets that they've been shut out four times in the first 16 games of the season.
The latest came Tuesday night in Montreal when the Jets failed to score and watched the Canadiens dance away with a 3-0 victory.
The Jets have scored just 15 goals in their last nine games but because they've been so much sharper than past Winnipeg teams defensively, the loss stopped an eight-game points streak (6-0-2).
'When we do start filling the net, it's going to be trouble'‐ Jets captain Andrew Ladd
"Obviously you're not happy coming out of there with nothing," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said after Wednesday's practice at PNC Arena, where the team will try to get back on track tonight (6 p.m., TSN3, TSN 1290) against the Carolina Hurricanes. "For me, I like the way we're playing and I like the confidence we have out there in terms of our routes and the way we're playing.
"The other stuff, the scoring, is going to come. We've been in this drought here and we were still winning hockey games.
"When we do start filling the net, it's going to be trouble."
Jets coach Paul Maurice has the results of the team's recent points streak with which to drive home his plan.
He said at no time while he was formulating the way to get these Jets to play better defence -- so far, it's 33 goals against (35 if you count shootout losses) in 16 games -- did he foresee an offensive drought as a byproduct.
"So the answer is no, almost emphatically no," Maurice said Wednesday. "But there's an exception to this. So most of your offence that you're generating comes from that defence. You spend less time in your own end when you're defending well.
"The only part of your game where you wonder if you give up offence is leaving the zone. We call it cheating, but it's pressing for that offence first. Yeah, there's a chance you're giving up a few goals but you absolutely cannot win on that. You cannot win living on the cheat goals, leaving the zone early because you just give up so much and what's worse, you'll have nights where you think you're flying because that one day every six games you beat a team 5-1, you think that's the way we should play, we can play that way every night if we're on our game.
"Nobody plays like that. And nobody certainly wins like that.
"There's no negative correlation between offence and good defence. And to be honest with you, we're not playing that well defensively that we're taking anything off the table offensively. We've still got lots of room to improve the defensive part of our game."
It's insightful to hear the coach say there's more room to improve defensively than offensively.
But the illustration from Tuesday was that the two key Montreal goals (excluding the late empty-netter) were from rebounds and came as a result of Jets defenders not being able to sort out quickly enough who to cover or check in front of goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
"My complaint, and it's not much of a complaint, in the Montreal game, is that I didn't think we defended quite as well as we could have on certain situations, some of the battles around the net and the pucks coming off the wall in the defensive zone," Maurice said.
Ladd listed some of Tuesday's great opportunities -- posts by Mark Scheifele and Evander Kane among them -- and said his teammates have seen the value of staying focused on defence.
"There's no reason to (cheat) and that's something we talked about here today," Ladd said. "You can go through every opportunity we had yesterday and see we could easily have had four or five goals. So the defensive part of our game is the backbone of what we do and that's really how we create a lot of our chances. You catch teams trying to take chances and then you're going the other way and getting the opportunities. We'll stick with that.
"We need to relax a little bit and be confident in those situations. We're doing the right things."