By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Every game going forward for the Winnipeg Jets needs to be treated like a Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals. String together a long winning streak and they might have a shot. Lose a couple more games however, and they can start dusting off the Callaway’s.
Sitting in the not-so-pretty confines of a 3-3-4 record in their past 10 contests, the Jets — who went 11-3-2 in Paul Maurice’s first 16 games at the helm — have regressed in more recent times, including a current five-game skid that has knocked them into backseat of the playoff race.
Do desperate times call for desperate measures?
“Yeah,” said Andrew Ladd. “I think we have been playing that way the last couple games but we haven’t been able to find the net. But the way you control that is by throwing everything at them and keeping your game simple.
“You got to find that extra level, that desperation to get those wins.”
The Jets (69) sit five points back of the Dallas Stars (74) for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Despite their circumstances, the team says they just need to keep looking forward.
“When you have a bad game you have to forget – you have no choice,” said Ondrej Pavelec who gets the nod in the Jets’ crease tonight. “You can change what happens next and this is our goal; it is what we want to do.”
Ladd, meanwhile, will partake in his 600th NHL game tonight.
“We were laughing because we said it would have been 600 last game but one game in Carolina I sat on the bench the whole game and didn’t touch the ice,” said Ladd.
The Jets No. 16 has gained a reputation for being a durable commodity in the NHL game. In fact, only Alexander Ovechkin (664) has played more games for players coming out of the 2004 Draft. Ladd has played 81 games or more in five on his nine seasons in the show and is on his way to adding his sixth tally to that feat this year.
“The last three or four years I have been able to stay healthy and I think I have found a fine line between the first couple of years where I was running around and trying to hit everything that moves and was injured all the time and now picking my spots a little more.”