By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets will look to play a more consistent game on Friday night against the Dallas Stars as the two teams get set to collide at the MTS Centre.
The Jets are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, a game where they were horrific in the faceoff circle and in the shot department. The Jets put up just 15 shots and won an embarrassing 26 percent of their faceoff’s in the loss, including Bryan Little’s atrocious one-for-20 night.
Little says tonight’s game is a chance to regroup.
“I think this is kind of what we were talking about before the season,” said Little. “We have to be able to bounce back after a couple tough losses and turn it around quickly. Tonight we have an opportunity to get back on track.”
“Today we are just trying to stay positive; we played last night and that didn’t go well. We want to be more consistent this year and we don’t want to be streaky. We want to turn things around as soon as possible and tonight is a great example of a chance to do that.”
Little said that the Jets might be over-thinking things, something he attributes to their early slump.
“It gets in your head a bit,” said Little. “For me, I tried to do everything before the game yesterday to prepare for them and it was the worst night I had in my career. Maybe it is a case that less is more right now.”
Jets head coach Claude Noel said there were a few things that stood out to him on the night.
“We didn’t generate a lot, we didn’t start with the puck much,” said Noel. “We weren’t able to create; they (Wild) had a hand in that, the way they played. They played a Western Conference playoff type of game.”
Noel did say that one positive was that his team was in the game right to the final buzzer. “We were in the game right until the end.”
Noel says that he needs to rally his troops and get them back on track.
“The first thing I’ve got to do is provide guidance to individuals and the team and remain on the positive side because there is a lot of negativity around our team and frustration because of the lack of results,” said Noel. “The other thing is to show them where we can and how we can.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars will look to take advantage of the slow-starting Jets and try to take the crowd out of the game early.
“I’d like that,” said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. “I have been in this building when it has been loud and they would like the early opportunity to get the crowd behind them. Our goal is to try and do the opposite.
Ruff said that coming out strong and quick will be the key to breaking down the Jets early.
“Really, it comes to execution,” said Ruff. “Moving the puck, getting pucks to the net, trying to get those second opportunities and trying to play a real quick game where you are putting the puck in the right places. If you are doing that, it creates a lot of speed in your game and really makes them play a game where they have to go the full length of the rink.”
Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the MTS Centre tonight as the Jets look to win their third game of this young season.