Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jets crumble to new rival

WINNIPEG—Welcome to the Central Division.
It may be just an NHL pre-season game but the Winnipeg Jets crumbled 4-1 before new regular rivals the Minnesota Wild last night.

And the Wild didn’t dress their highest-priced talent while Winnipeg iced its top two lines.
“We played terrible,” said Evander Kane, his left hand wrapped in an ice bag after a game that got more physical as frustration built.
“We had our two so-called top lines in and we didn’t perform.
“It’s an exhibition game but we’ve got to be better,” he stressed.
Pre-season rust is no excuse, added Kane, who accounted for seven of Winnipeg’s 28 shots.
Bryan Little had only two shots, but one of them was Winnipeg’s (1-2-1) lone goal.
“We have to come out, especially in our building, and be a lot hungrier and get on them a lot quicker than we did in the first period,” said Kane.
“We can’t wait until the game is late and out of hand to start playing with a little emotion.”
Mathew Dumba, Charlie Coyle, and Kris Foucault scored for the Wild (2-1-0) while Steven Kampfer added an empty-net goal.
Winnipeg and Minnesota have played just twice since the former Atlanta Thrashers relocated in 2011 and the Jets won both.
Coyle, who had the winner in the second period, also was pleased the Wild faced a lot of Winnipeg’s top players.
“We’d rather go up against a lineup like that than younger guys,” he noted.
“We want to see what other teams have and that was a good win for us to go against those guys,” Coyle added.
“And it just proves it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup, just stick to the system.”
The Jets will face the Wild six times during the regular season as they move from the old Southeast Division to the new Central Division.
Travel will be easier, but Winnipeg also faces three teams that made the playoffs last season and one of them—the Chicago Blackhawks—won the Stanley Cup.
Jets’ coach Claude Noel wasn’t necessarily taking the loss as a portent of what lies ahead, although he wasn’t pleased with what he saw.
“I don’t believe this game does that,” he said. “Sometimes you get caught looking at the roster and . . . you get led down the path where you think it’s going to be an easy game and you’ll have success. . . .
“There is no easy way to win games,” he stressed. “That is something that we’re going to deal with tomorrow [Friday].”
The Jets will get a chance to redeem themselves tomorrow when they play the Wild again at the Xcel Energy Center.

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