By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Claude Noel will look for his team to shut down a Sharks team that has scored five times in the first minute in 16 games this season as the San Jose Sharks (10-2-4) invade the MTS Centre Sunday night to take on the Winnipeg Jets (7-9-2).
Noel stressed the importance of a good start and broke it down into a couple key areas after practice Sunday morning.
“What you would like to do is it to start with faceoffs, that would be the one area but you know how that is,” said Noel. “It is going to be puck management, that is going to be the key thing — what are you going to be doing with it — especially early.
“That sets up our game. That is a simple well-rounded way but it is a little bit more in-depth than that.”
Noel sees the Sharks team as a whole as one of the best in the league.
“It is going to be a challenge for us, we are not going to be matching up,” said Noel. “They have some guys, they have potentially the best guys in the league with those three guys (Thornton, Pavelski, Couture). It will be a little different issue with us tonight.
“We are going to have to deal with them, we are going to have to match your defence and make sure that their going good.”
Bryan Little, the Jets’ leading scorer with 10 goals on the season, is wary of the threat San Jose poses.
“Looking at their centremen they got some good ones,” Little said. “They are pretty deep, they got some good depth so it is going to be a good challenge for us. Lately, every game has been so it should be good.”
Little says consistency after their big 5-0 win over Nashville on Friday will be another step in the right direction for the Jets.
“I think that is our next big step,” said Little. “It seems like lately we have been playing a good game then kind of letting loose and not coming out to play the next game. Right now, this is the next big step we have to make; we have to put two good games together.
“It is going to be a good test and hopefully we can do it tonight.”
Puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight at the MTS Centre.