Jets hoping for offensive surge in Montreal
Winnipeg has scored 2 or fewer goals in 9 of past 11 games
Despite the Winnipeg Jets' recent offensive struggles, coach Claude Noel needs his team to find ways to win.
The visiting Jets look to bounce back from their latest frustrating defeat while trying to hand the Montreal Canadiens a fourth consecutive loss Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).
Winnipeg (24-23-6) has scored two or fewer goals in nine of the last 11 games. The Jets have lost seven times during that stretch and remain on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
After posting consecutive 2-1 victories at Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, the Jets lost by the same score at Florida on Friday to fall to 2-3-0 on a stretch of six straight road games.
"Our team right now can't give up 20 minutes of free play and expect you're going to be able to win the game," said Noel, whose team had fewer than 25 shots for a fourth consecutive game. "Do I like the one goal we get every game? No. Would I like to see it change? Yes. Do I coach that way? No. That's what we have, but there's still a way to win the games."
Noel's team is in a 3-for-31 slump on the power play, including 0 for 10 over the last five games. The Jets haven't had a lead after the first period in six straight.
"It's just the little things we need to focus on and we'll be alright," defenceman Dustin Byfuglien told the Jets' official website.
Winnipeg has scored eight goals while losing two of three to the Canadiens (19-24-9), including a 7-3 defeat in Montreal on Jan. 4. Leading scorer Blake Wheeler has one goal with two assists in his last nine games, but he's scored three of his 10 this season against the Canadiens.
Ondrej Pavelec, who stopped 57 of 59 shots while winning his last two starts, has a 3.97 goals-against average versus Montreal this season while going 1-2-0.
The Canadiens have dropped three in a row following a 3-1-1 stretch. Hoping to salvage something positive from a disappointing season, Montreal is fighting to stay out of the basement in the East.
"We know we're in a pretty big hole, but we're trying hard not to look too closely at the standings and take things a game at a time," third-year forward Lars Eller told the Canadiens' official website.
Montreal had its own problems in the offensive end during Saturday's 3-0 home loss to Washington. The Canadiens totalled 12 shots in the final two periods en route to being shut out for the sixth time.
"Right now we're working on everybody getting in the right frame of mind," said interim coach Randy Cunneyworth, 6-12-2 since replacing the fired Jacques Martin. "We've got two afternoon games here — and nobody said it's going to be easy, but if we stick together we can battle through this by committee."
Eller recorded his first four-goal game and added an assist against the Jets last month, but since has two goals with one assist in 12 contests.
After getting a rest Saturday, Montreal's Carey Price could be in net looking to improve on his 5-1-2 home record against the Jets' franchise.