Jets ready to do battle versus Coyotes
Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency
|Phoenix Coyotes right wing Mikkel Boedker (R) of Denmark skates away from Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian (L) during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Glendale, Arizona on Oct. 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets are looking to bounce back from a sluggish start to their five-game homestand.
After dropping a 6-4 decision to the Ottawa Senatros on Tuesday, the Jets face the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday at MTS Centre (7:35 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290).
“It’s something that we talked about, we need to improve on finishing teams,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “We had a 2-0 lead in Boston and let them back in the game. You’ve got to keep your foot on the gas and when (teams ) are vulnerable, take advantage of it.”
It’s the second — and final — meeting of the season, but the first in Winnipeg since the team up and moved to the desert.
The Jets lost 4-1 to the Coyotes back on Oct. 15 at jobing.com Arena, but are expecting to put forth a much better effort tonight.
“I didn’t like that game at all, I didn’t think we worked hard enough, battled hard enough. It was early in the season and I’ve moved so far past that game — I’m not looking at that game, it was so long ago and we’re not the same team as then, from a play standpoint,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “They’re a methodical team, a consistent team and they don’t beat themselves or give you too many scoring chances. You’re going to have to be focused on what you’re doing in this game. I don’t think it’s going to be about what they do, it’s what we do that concerns me. We have to be way better, we have to get a lot out of a lot of guys. We’ve got to get 20 guys going.”
Although Noel said that forwards Eric Fehr and Nik Antropov would be game-time decisions, both are questionable at best to suit up on Thursday.
That should open the door for Tim Stapleton to return to the lineup and for winger Carl Klingberg, who was recalled by the Jets from the St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday, to draw in on the fourth line for his second NHL game.
“Everybody’s dream is to play in the NHL and today is the day,” said Klingberg, who has nine goals and 16 points in 20 AHL games this season. “For me, I’m just going to go out there and do my best. Go really hard and don’t think so much. Just go out there and have fun.”
It will be a special game for Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who was a Jets rookie during the 1995-96 season.
“This is something that you’ll definitely remember,” said Doan, who was asked what type of reaction he expected from the hometown fans. “I really don’t know. Obviously, I enjoyed my time here. This city gave me the chance to play in the NHL and fulfill my dream. That’s something that you never, ever forget.
“At the same time, I realize I’m playing against their team and you’re not going to get the welcome wagon put out for you at all.”
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said that forward Kyle Turris was “available for selection” but wouldn’t commit to him playing his first game of the season against the Jets.
Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Jets, while Mike Smith is expected to get the call for the Coyotes.
Puck drop is 7:35 p.m. at the downtown arena.