Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jets among the NHL's Best at Home and the League's Worst on the Road: Jets Look to Turn around Dismal Road Record

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jets among the NHL's Best at Home and the League's Worst on the Road: Jets Look to Turn around Dismal Road Record

Article excerpt

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel says it's a little misleading but still remains a fact: no other NHL team has such a bad road record yet sports such a solid mark at home.

As the Jets prepare to go back on the road -- they're in Montreal on Wednesday -- Noel and the team have confidence that will change.

"We've been consistent lately so that will be the challenge for sure for us," he said following Monday's practice. "Can we do it on the road?

"I think we can."

Winnipeg plays nine out of its 13 games on the road this month on the road. After Montreal, the Jets travel to Toronto, Buffalo and then Boston before returning home.

The Jets have the Eastern Conference's best home record at 14-6-1, which is also fourth-best in the NHL. But on the road, they rank a distant 25th overall at 5-8-4.

It's that dichotomy that sets Winnipeg apart. Most of the teams that have a worse road record than the Jets are also struggling at home.

The reason why Noel suggests the numbers don't tell the whole story is the Jets began their new life in the NHL largely on the road. In October and November, they played 15-of-24 games away from the Manitoba capital.

That was hard on a young team that relocated from Atlanta to a new city and had a new coach. Once the Jets had time to work regularly at home, they began to forge an identity, eliminate costly mistakes and start winning more regularly.

"I think it just took us a little bit to understand the system, we had such a new coaching staff and everything," says captain Andrew Ladd, who also gets credit for some team-building. "It just took time to figure out the way we need to play and I think the last month or so we've kind of nailed that down and now it's just time to take it on the road."

The hockey-starved fans who fill the MTS Centre for every home game also have played a role, giving the Jets a huge adrenalin boost with little prompting. …

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