SUNRISE, Fla. --
The Winnipeg Jets
finally experienced some success on the road this week. Now comes the tough part.
The Jets take on the Florida Panthers
on Friday night in the second half of back-to-back games and they'll be looking to reverse an ugly trend.
It's the ninth set of back-to-back games for Winnipeg this season. The first eight games on the back end of a back-to-back produced these results: 4-1 loss at Ottawa; 3-0 loss at the New York Rangers
; 4-2 loss at Boston; 7-1 loss at Detroit; 4-1 loss at home against Pittsburgh; 4-0 loss at Toronto; 5-1 loss at New Jersey; 3-0 loss at the New York Rangers
Do the math and it adds up to an 0-8 record, with three shutout losses and the Jets outscored 34-6.
"I don't particularly think that the players concern themselves so much with back-to-back," Jets coach Claude Noel
said Friday before he joined six of his players at the BankAtlantic Center for an optional morning skate. "It is what it is. You play the game. I really don't know that they can sit there, and they sit and blame fatigue. It just happens that we haven't won those games. I don't think that there's something there that we're afraid of. Certainly I never bring it up and I'm not afraid of it."
On the contrary, Noel might bring up the fact that the last time the Jets faced the Panthers, Jan. 21 at Winnipeg, Florida emerged with a 4-3 shootout victory after playing the night before in Chicago.
Of course, it must be pointed out that the Jets lost that game despite outshooting the Panthers 44-23.
"Last time we played these guys they had the back-to-back and we end up serving up some pizzas and lost the game," Noel said. "It was disappointing for us because we played pretty well, we outshot them, outplayed them, didn't give them too many chances and found a way to lose against a division rival. So we've just got to be better. We've got to find a way to get it done."
Friday night's game is the next-to-last in a six-game road trip that began Jan. 23 and wraps up Sunday afternoon in Montreal. The Jets won at Philadelphia and at Tampa Bay this week after returning from the All-Star break following a stretch of six losses in eight road games.
With the Jets playing their third game in four nights, Noel said he would go with Chris Mason
in net against the Panthers. Ondrej Pavelec
, who stopped 30 of 31 shots in Thursday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Lightning, will be back in net Sunday at Montreal.
Here is tonight's projected lineups for the Jets:
- Bryan Little
- Blake Wheeler
- Nik Antropov
- Eric Fehr
- Jim Slater
- Chris Thorburn
- Aaron Gagnon
- Antti Miettinen
- Dustin Byfuglien
- Zach Bogosian
- Mark Stuart