Jets try to solve back-to-back woes

Fans cheer as Winnipeg Jets left winger Andrew Ladd celebrates his first period goal against the...

Fans cheer as Winnipeg Jets left winger Andrew Ladd celebrates his first period goal against the New Jersey Devils in NHL hockey in Winnipeg Jan. 14, 2012. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:09 PM ET

The media can take its stories about Winnipeg’s struggles in the second half of back-to-backs and stuff them in a sack.

That’s the word from Jets winger Chris Thorburn, who believes his team’s league-worst 0-7 record in the second half of back-to-backs is more coincidence than anything.

“It’s getting so blown out of proportion it’s almost ridiculous. It really is,” Thorburn said Monday after the morning skate at RBC Center. “Every team goes through it. You do it in college, you do it in junior, you do it in the minors. So we’ve grown up in the environment.

“We’re used to it. We just gotta turn our record around. That’s what it comes down to. We gotta get a win, so hopefully we can do it against the Rangers.”

The Jets were scheduled to travel to New York after Monday’s night game in Raleigh against the Hurricanes, and they will meet the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in their final game before the all-star break.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd understands the attention his team’s performance in back-to-backs is getting, but he, like Thorburn, believes the struggles might be a case of bad timing more than anything.

“When you’ve lost every one so far, everyone’s going to emphasize on what the problem is, and it’s sometimes circumstance,” Ladd said. “But it’s something you gotta deal with. It’s something you gotta fight through and just kind of find a way to win. And certain guys have to step up.

“… It’s a mental thing, and you gotta get over that hurdle. You might be tired, you might not feel great, but you have to have that presence of mind to make the right plays and emphasize that, especially when you don’t have the energy to maybe play that up-tempo game that you usually are.”

The only problem with the circumstance defence is the Jets have looked lethargic in most of their second games and have been outscored 31-6 in the process. That sounds like more than just coincidence, although, to be fair, six of the seven games have come on the road against good teams.

Head coach Claude Noel doesn’t have plans to alter his team’s schedule leading up to Tuesday’s match, even though he said something had to change after last week’s 5-1 debacle in New Jersey against the Devils.

“I’m not really sure we’re going to do anything different. We just have to play better,” he said. “We’re not the only ones that have this problem. The other thing, too, is we have to do way better on the road. We have to play better for a total 60-minute game.

“And this is a tough time, where you’re trying to sort: Where’s your team at? Where are their heads at? What are they thinking? Are they thinking past the game? Are they not? So these are things we gotta manage. We certainly can’t give up two points, not at this juncture.”


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