Jets hungry for win over Blue Jackets
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel watches the action during the third period against the Florida Panthers during their NHL game in Winnipeg, November 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)
The Winnipeg Jets are looking to regroup from one of their worst performances of the season and standing in their way is a team that has won only twice in 15 games.
But don’t think for a second the Jets are taking the 2-12-1 Columbus Blue Jackets lightly, not after a sub-par performance in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday at MTS Centre.
“We’re not happy at all with the home performance, it was the opposite of how we wanted to come out,” said Jets centre Bryan Little. “The coaches made their feelings clear that it’s not acceptable and you’re going to see a different team tonight."
“Our play needs to have a little emotion to it, some oomph and if it’s anger that drives it, that’s fine by me,” added Jets winger Tanner Glass. “Our goal is to be tough to play against and play fast.”
The Jets are currently 5-8-3 and trying to snap a four-game losing streak.
“We haven’t won in a bit and we’re hungry to do that,” said Jets forward Chris Thorburn.
The Jets are down another defenceman (bringing the total back to five on the sidelines) as Brett Festerling was injured in practice on Friday, allowing Paul Postma to return to the lineup.
Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien didn’t take part in the morning skate, but Jets head coach Claude Noel said he was good-to-go.
“Buff is great. He’s going to be a stallion tonight. You watch him,” said Noel.
Ondrej Pavelec makes his ninth consecutive start in goal for the Jets after getting pulled after two periods in Thursday’s loss, while the Blue Jackets counter with Steve Mason.
“It was an easy decision,” said Noel. “He hit a bump, it wasn’t much of a bump. It was probably fatigue more than anything.”
The Blue Jackets struggles have been well documented, but they believe they can get things turned around.
“It’s been tough, we didn’t get off to the start we wanted to. We’ve been struggling as of late,” said Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash. “It’s tough to be a Blue Jacket and a Blue Jacket fan right now. But we’re not giving up on ourselves or giving up on our franchise. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to get it done.”
The Blue Jackets aren’t giving up on head coach Scott Arniel either.
“I’ve been through a lot here and it’s not a good thing,” said Nash. “It’s guys jobs, guys families. The one thing here is that we still believe in what Arnie is doing and what management is doing. We don’t want to see any changes.”
When it comes to reasons for the slow start, Arniel, the former head coach of the Manitoba Moose, isn’t about to point fingers.
“You can say it’s this guy or that guy but it’s not going to help your results,” said Arniel. “We just have to look after ourselves and do the job.
“One thing I know is happening right now is that every (opposition) coach is saying ‘these guys are fragile, pounce on them as fast as you can.’ It’s not going to be any different tonight. The Jets will be coming after us right off the bat and try to upset our apple cart right away. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go.”
The Blue Jackets welcome centre Jeff Carter (ankle) to the lineup and will make Derick Brassard a healthy scratch.