Tough slogging ahead as Jets take flight for road trip
Winnipeg heads on 3-game road trip to end abysmal November
The Winnipeg Jets are taking off for a 3-game road trip to end the month of November. The team will land in Washington for a game on Wednesday and then play Friday in Minnesota to finish off the road trip in Colorado.
The month of November has not been kind to the Jets. The team now has a 10-10-2 record and is two points behind Chicago for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
It may seem odd to be talking about NHL playoff spots in November, but conventional wisdom pegs American Thanksgiving as a mark on the calendar where essentially the playoffs are decided.
If you look at the Western Conference standings from last season at American Thanksgiving, the Jets had played 24 games and were holding the last wildcard playoff spot by three points. Over four months and 58 games later, the Jets were in that same wildcard spot with a four point lead on the Los Angeles Kings.
The Jets are far from out of the playoff race but they have only won three games in November and the club would really like to end the month on a better note than it started it. The team had been looking better after playing a decent game in St. Louis and then winning two consecutive against Vancouver and Arizona.
Last night's loss to Colorado stings. For much of the game the Jets outplayed the Avalanche but they were unable to get enough offence to earn the win.
'We have to move on'
For forward Drew Stafford it's not time to get too down.
"We've been through a lot already this year as far as some tough losses. Bottom line is we have to move on and get ready for a big road trip," Stafford added.
"There's a lot of positives in the game. A couple things we talked about this morning as far as getting more bodies, more pucks to the net, [was] not being as greedy with making that extra play or cycle. Keeping things simple. I think we are going to try and carry that over."
The road trip will open up against the Washington Capitals, who are 4-2 in their last six games. Team captain Alexander Ovechkin now holds the record for career goals from a Russian born player. Ovechkin scored his 484th career goal last week to pass Sergei Fedorov.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice knows that his team is in for some tough competition with Washington.
"What they've done well is taken a group that has a very high skill level and got them to kind of buy in to grind a little with that," said Maurice.
Maurice is aiming to have a simpler game and hopes that his team will do a better job of turning their good puck possession numbers into shots on net.