Having looked impressive during their current three game win streak, there hasn’t been much to complain about in any aspects of the Winnipeg Jets game. They have created offense, played with energy and toughness, and have taken care of their own end in front of the solid goaltending of Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason. In their last three games, particularly the two home wins, the Jets have played as close to perfect hockey as they have at any other time this season.
While there is not much to nitpick about their performance of late, there are many traps that the team cannot fall into looking ahead.
Still with six games remaining in their lengthy homestand, Winnipeg must avoid falling into a sense of comfortability; especially with a challenging trio of games this week starting tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Although the players are well aware that they are a team that cannot come to the rink expecting wins to come easy, there is always the temptation to hope that success will come without having to work for it. Head coach Claude Noel echoed these thoughts after Monday’s practice,”It seems every time I feel good about things, I’m fearful about something else,” Noel told the Canadian Press. “What you have to be careful of is you don’t start thinking you’re a five or six-goal team every night. On one hand you plug this hole and now you create this hole, so you’re always fearful of maybe overconfidence.”
Playing so many consecutive games at home and winning the first two may allow that false comfort level to set in; something a team like the Jets can’t let happen. In essence, the club must keep their foot on the gas, the pedal to the metal, hammer down the throttle, and any other cliche that relates to them continung to play the kind of hockey they have been playing.
Heading into tonight’s game against the Flyers, Winnipeg has moved into a tie for eighth in the East with the Toronto Maple Leafs and are one point back of the Florida Panthers for the Southeast division lead; although both Toronto and Florida have games in hand.
Tonight the Jets can expect to see a hungry Philadelphia team whom they have beaten in all three of the previous meetings between the two teams. After tonight, the surging Tampa Bay Lightning and the near dominant St. Louis Blues visit the MTS Centre on Thursday and Saturday to round out the week’s schedule.
With teams like that looking to test themsevles against an excellent home side like the Jets, it is without question that they will have to bring forth the same effort they were able to muster against Boston and Colorado.
The temptation to let up will be there, but as we’ve seen time and time again, the MTS faithful will be there to make sure that does not happen for too long.
Resident of Windsor, Ontario. Extensive knowledge of both the NHL and junior hockey in Canada, particularly the OHL. Writer for THW covering the Winnipeg Jets and the OHL as well as covering Phoenix Coyotes prospects for Hockey’s Future.