The 30th and final NHL home opener of the season goes tonight at the MTS Centre.

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This article was published 16/10/2015 (2242 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The 30th and final NHL home opener of the season goes tonight at the MTS Centre.

The Calgary Flames visit the Jets for a 7 p.m. start and veteran Jets winger Mathieu Perreault said he never loses enthusiasm for home openers.

"Especially here in Winnipeg," Perreault said Thursday as the Jets come back from an opening four-game road trip with a 3-1 mark. "Last year's was amazing, all the blue lights going around. I know they'll come with something really nice this year.

"It's very exciting because this crowd gets really into it and we're off to a really good start to the year. Much different than last year so we're excited about this game and this homestretch here."

That crowd factor was on the mind of Jets winger Blake Wheeler.

"We left off on a good note with our fans last year," Wheeler said. "I think they were proud of the way we played last year so we're just excited to feed of their energy in our building again. It's going to be a great atmosphere as always. We're happy to come in with good feelings in our room."

 

Longest homestand

TONIGHT'S game begins a six-game homestand, the Jets' longest of the season.

But shortly after it's concluded later this month, the tally of road games begins to pile up again and the home-road tally won't again be back to even until February.

At which time it goes road-heavy again and doesn't balance out until Winnipeg has 11 home games in March.

He's got no problem with that imbalance, Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

"It's only a concern if you have a problem in one or the other," he said. "If you're struggling on the road, that works against you. We kind of found our identity in November (last season) on the road.

"We're not getting an easy schedule here. I took last year's schedule very personally. This year's schedule? I realized it's life here. And life for a lot of Western Conference teams and it's not personal.

"I haven't been here that long but I've always felt very comfortable on the road with this team. The road's not like it used to be. The buildings aren't quite as intimidating as they used to be."


Five time zones in 5 games

IT'S a natural tendency in the western half of the NHL to make light of varied moaning about the schedules of eastern teams.

Maurice was quick to mock, referencing something he read last season about an eastern club still having to go outside the eastern time zone once more.

"We've got five different time zones in five consecutive games," he said, referring to a stretch this March.

Among penalty leaders

THROUGH four games, Winnipeg is once again high on the list of short-handed situations.

The Jets have been penalized 17 times, third-highest so far.

"We had a chat about that," Maurice said. "I'm surprised at the number, to be honest with you. We're drawing some, too, so that's OK.

"The game's always called a little more tight early in the year. I can live with the penalties in the game against the Rangers because they were part of a compete package that we understood, (it's) who we are as a team.

"The penalties we took against the Islanders were not acceptable. Over the whole spectrum of the game, you get away with stuff and you get called on stuff. So we're not yelling at the refs. This is not a complaint.

"But the penalties we took against the Islanders were not part of the compete package that was helping us win the game."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from Jeff Hamilton