Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After Successful Road Trip, Jets Look to Avoid Letdown at MTS Centre

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After Successful Road Trip, Jets Look to Avoid Letdown at MTS Centre

Article excerpt

Jets look to avoid home letdown

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WINNIPEG - It would be understandable if Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel was a bit leery about returning home.

After the Jets wrapped up their longest road trip of the season with a 4-1 mark, Noel has to prepare the team to try and end a four-game losing skid at home.

"For some reason, I don't know what it is, there's usually a letdown (after a long road trip). That's just the way it is," Noel said Wednesday as his players had the day off.

The Jets (9-9-1) are 3-5 at the MTS Centre this season and begin a two-game homestand Thursday night against New Jersey (10-5-4) and Saturday afternoon versus Washington.

The streak is the longest home drought since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta before last season.

"There's a lot of support here that we want to do well and we want to prove to (fans) that we're a good team," Noel said.

"Sometimes you might fear over-trying (at home) and that's a little bit different, but I don't think we fear that."

Through their first eight games at home last season, the Jets held a 5-3 record as they were buoyed by their raucous home crowd. The Jets have sold out every game since the NHL returned to Manitoba's capital.

"You try to satisfy the fans and you know that they're supporting of you, and on the road you are patient, you just play the game and it's not the same," Noel said.

"That's a maturity thing that I think we're going to get to and I think we're doing all the right things so that's the next step, that's what we have to go through."

During the latest road trip, the Jets defeated Buffalo, Carolina, New Jersey and the New York Rangers, with a loss to Philadelphia sandwiched in the middle.

Noel attributed part of the recent success to players winning battles in key areas, moving the puck ahead and putting pucks in the right area.

"We're doing things to win games. We're scoring timely goals and that's the one thing that's helped us. …

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