Jets face critical test in Toronto

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey works out during practice in Winnipeg, Man. Friday Jan. 18,...

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey works out during practice in Winnipeg, Man. Friday Jan. 18, 2013. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

TORONTO - As he often does, Claude Noel hit the nail directly on the head.

It was the morning after the successful night before and the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets was fielding questions before hopping on a plane bound for the next critical test — a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs that will be nationally broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada in prime time.

Although the Jets have just passed the midway point of this sprint of a 48-game season, this Saturday night special is the latest in a series of high-drama games for a club that has collected at least a point in five consecutive games (4-0-1).

“The magnitude of these games is huge,” Jets head coach Claude Noel said Friday. “You can’t sit and say this is a big game. Tell me one that isn’t.”

Noel has a point there.

With 21 games left in the regular season and 11 before the NHL trade deadline comes to pass, it’s become increasingly tough to find a soft spot on the schedule.

By going 7-


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