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Jets draw confidence from knowing they have another gear

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets


ANAHEIM, California – The Winnipeg Jets know they have another gear – “another level,” “more to give” – and that, in itself, is a source of confidence heading into Game 3.

“We know we can play with these guys,” Mark Scheifele said as the team addressed the media at the team hotel before hopping on a flight back to Winnipeg. “Both games have been a battle on both sides and we’ve come up on the wrong end in both, but we know there’s still plenty of series left. … It obviously sucks, but that’s hockey for you. It could have gone the other way and we could have scored one in the last 30 (seconds). Hockey’s a cruel game at times but the teams that are able to bounce back are the ones that learn the most and gain more experience. It’s going to be a tough battle but every guy on this team isn’t giving up.

“We’re going to go over the video and look the things we can do better but the main thing is, we were in both of those games and we can still give a little more. That’s the exciting thing. We’re
ready for the challenge.”

For the second straight game, costly penalties aided the fall and the Jets were unable to hold on to a third-period lead. Jakob Silfverberg scored the game-winner with 21 seconds to play, giving the Ducks a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

“These have been tight, tight games,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “We need to find a little more of that confidence that will keep us moving quick through 60 minutes. There are parts of the game where we’re moving at the right pace, the right speed. … There’s another level that we can get to. It’s not something that you see during the regular season, but there’s another place. We’ve played hard – we’ve always played hard. But we’re going to need to be closer to our best game than
they are.”

Anaheim set a new single-season record with 18 wins when trailing at any point in the third period and was an NHL-best 12-23-0 when trailing after two periods this season, leaving many an
opponent beleaguered.

“They’re the top-seeded team in the Western Conference for a reason,” Lee Stempniak said.

Stempniak had glorious opportunity to score the insurance marker in Game 2, but a fabulous defensive play by Clayton Stoner early in the third period prevented a goal.

“We’re right there with them, but we’re just not doing enough to get the win,” Stempniak said. “We’re excited to get back. We’ve been really tough to play at home and that bodes well for
us going into the next two games.”

Game 3 goes tomorrow night at MTS Centre (8:00pm CT, Sportsnet).

“I think it’s going to make a huge difference,” Drew Stafford said of the home crowd. “We can feed off that energy and use it to our advantage.

“Those are tough games. They’re hard, physical, tough battles and especially with the way the games went, being so close… To get home and get a little shot in the arm and being back in our own building in front of our own fans, we’re really looking forward to it.”

With a number of dignitaries in attendance and a city planning for this for more than 19 years, the sight tomorrow night at MTS Centre will be one of a kind.

After all, nothing – and I mean nothing – can compete with a #WPGWhiteout.

— Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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