Jets' bottom lines must improve

Winnipeg Jets' Tanner Glass (R) fights Minnesota Wild's Clayton Stoner during the second period of...

Winnipeg Jets' Tanner Glass (R) fights Minnesota Wild's Clayton Stoner during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg December 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:34 PM ET

The Jets are being dogged by inconsistency these days, and part of their struggles could easily be traced to the third and fourth lines.

The last member of Winnipeg's bottom six to score an even-strength goal was third-line centre Jim Slater on Nov. 19 against the Philadelphia Flyers. That's 13 games without a goal. Fourth-line centre Tim Stapleton dented the twine on Dec. 9 against Carolina, but that came on the power play.

The book on the Jets this season was they would have trouble scoring, and it's even harder to win games when only two of their lines are producing.

Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane have scored goals while playing in the bottom six, but the regular third and fourth liners have combined for only 12 of Winnipeg's 91 tallies this season.

Slater has six goals, and Tanner Glass and Stapleton have three. Two of Stapleton's tallies, however, have come with the Jets enjoying a man advantage.

The bottom six obviously don't get as much playing time as the top six, but they still need to chip in now and again.

BUZZ NEEDED: Head coach Claude Noel said his team didn't have as much spirit as it should have during Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders.

Winger Blake Wheeler feels the Jets will need to do their part to get the MTS Centre crowd going on Thursday night when the Habs come to town.

"We gotta do a better job of getting our fans involved and more excited than we did last game for sure and hopefully use that to our advantage," he said.

-- Penton


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