WINNIPEG – 1-9 in their past 10 road games, the Winnipeg Jets know they’ll have to be better in that regard to climb back into a playoff spot.
With seven of their next nine games away from MTS Centre – where the Jets have compiled a 9-5-1 record – there’s no time like the present to turn things around.
Back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames Monday and Tuesday will give the Jets their first chance to make amends and head into the holiday break feeling good about themselves.
“That’s the thing about the road, is that you can get on a roll,” defenceman Mark Stuart said following Sunday’s practice at MTS Iceplex. “You play well after that first game of a road trip and you’re together as a team, don’t really have to worry about anything else but hockey and
concentrate on the games. … You can get on a roll and that’s what we need to do.”
It certainly won’t be easy. Both the Oilers and Flames have been terrific on home ice, winning a combined 15 straight games dating back to Oct. 30.
“I haven’t seen a ton of their games, but I know they’ve been playing a lot better,” Stuart said of the Oilers, who are led offensively by the pair of Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl. “It’s no different, though. Every game, no matter who you’re playing or where you’re at, it’s tough. Every team presents a different challenge, so these are going to be two tough games for us.”
The Oilers have lost three straight overall, however, and have been outscored 13-3 in those games, including a shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks late last week. The sputtering offence carried over in Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, where Andrej Sekera scored the lone goal in
a 5-1 defeat, snapping a goalless drought of 124 minutes and 38 seconds.
Overall, the Oilers are 1-8-1 against the Central Division this season.
“We need as many points as we can get at this point,” Stuart said. “It’s important to grab four these next two [games]. This break seems like a really long time – and it actually is for us – so we’d like
to get some wins, rest up and come back strong.”
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com