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A good offence is a good defence

Maurice seeing defensive commitment from Jets in preseason

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - A blocked shot, a two-on-one, a nifty pass, and a smooth finish - just what Nic Petan, Marko Dano, and the Winnipeg Jets needed to seal a win.

Petan threaded a feed to Dano who made no mistake beating Ottawa Senators goaltender Mike Condon to put the Jets up for good with 6:48 remaining in regulation.

"Honestly I didn't think he was going to get that puck. He got it with one hand and tipped it over to me," Petan said of Dano. "I had it cocked and had it ready to shoot, but the defenceman kind of slid on his knee over toward me, and I saw the lane and made the pass."

The goal was Winnipeg's second even strength marker of the preseason, and was Petan's second point of the night. But after the game, Petan didn't want to talk offense.

"Tonight wasn't really about my offensive ability, it was more about the defence," said Petan. "Besides a lucky goal in the first and the 6-on-5 goal, our whole team played a really strong defensive game."

That they did.

Facing a veteran Ottawa line-up, Winnipeg held the Senators to 18 shots on goal, and for the second straight game, didn't allow a goal while shorthanded.

"We didn't give up much tonight," said Maurice. "The Minnesota game, in Minnesota, a very young team, a lot of mistakes, but the structure started. I don't think you can judge the Calgary game of where your team is at, but I did like a lot of what we saw tonight in terms of what we gave up."

The coach cautioned that both rosters weren't complete tonight, but added moving Mathieu Perreault to the line with Dano and Petan, and shifting Kyle Connor to Bryan Little's wing with Nikolaj Ehlers helped to even things out on the offensive and defensive sides of the puck.

With one preseason game left before the home opener on Oct. 4, Maurice believes improvement can still be made defensively, but the team is making strides.

"We've got some good offensive talent here. We're seventh in the NHL (in goals scored), and I think we can score more. We just can't play like we need to every time we touch the puck," he said. "(We've had) an awful lot of offensive zone time. We were third in the National Hockey League last year in that.

"It'll look a little bit like tonight. In terms of when they have the puck what we're supposed to be doing, I think we can do more with it."

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