The Jets arrived back in Winnipeg late Tuesday night after a solid 4-3 victory over the NY Rangers in Madison Square Garden. With the big apple win, they returned home with a convincing 4-1 road-trip record. The team took a well deserved day off today to rest their bodies after playing their last four games in six nights.
Coach Claude Noel spoke to the media this morning to provide injury updates and comment on the what he's been seeing from his team recently.
"Miettinen is day-to-day, he's skating today by himself," Noel commented. "Montoya is ready and will be available for the game (tomorrow). We've reassigned Melchiori and brought up Meech. Just more experience, nothing against Melchiori, I think he's going to be a good young defenceman."
On Tobias Enstrom: "He's feeling quite a bit better today. We're not day-to-day yet, we're still week-by-week but he's feeling better today so it was encouraging. I think he might get on the ice in the next couple of days but I don't know if it's contact from that stand-point but it's encouraging for us."
With the 4-1 recent road trip record, the Jets move into a three-way tie for first place in the Southeast Division with 19 points and more importantly jump back up to playing .500 hockey, going 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. Their last home stand did not go as planned but their strong character play on the road earned them the points they needed to build back their confidence.
"Our team feels good about the trip," said Noel. "We knew we needed to play well and produce and I think we found a way to do that. I think what's helped us is that we've managed the puck a little better, we've played the right way and I think we've got some timely goals. Our special teams came alive the one game that really helped us in Jersey and we've gotten a lot of production from a lot of people.
"For me it's the cohesiveness that you look at our team at. Our players care about playing and winning and playing for each other, and I think those are the things that winning teams find a way to do, they find a way to get it done for the good of the group. I think that's what has become evident for me."
The Jets will now play two games inside their home barn, which hasn't been as friendly a place as it was last season. They will host the NJ Devils Thursday night, followed by the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon.
"I think our players' hearts are in the right place, we just need to play well and be patient. The only thing that you're always somewhat worried about is when you come home off of a long road trip. We dealt with that demon last year all the time and I thought we handled it pretty well.
"To me there's a lot of support here that we want to do well and prove to them that we're a good team and sometimes you can fear over-trying, but I don't think we fear that."
As coach noted, he's liking the production that he's getting from several players and it's no secret that Evander Kane is clearly one of those players. To date, Kane is riding an eight-game point streak (ties his career high), and has at least one goal in each of his last four games (career high). Previously, he has had three, three-goal games. Through 19 games, Kane has nine goals and nine assists.
"He's a guy that's driven, there's no doubt about that," said Noel. "He loves to score, what can you say. When he gets goin', he gets goin'. It's no different than any player and my job is to help players, if they're going, help them, if they're not going help them.
"When he's going good and feeds off of what he feeds off of then just feed him more frenzy and just let him out of the corral. "