Video: JetsTV Road Report
MONTREAL, QC - While it wasn't the result he or the team were looking for, Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice was proud of what he saw from his players in last night's 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We played one hell of a hockey game," Maurice said. "The compete was so high, the checks got finished, the battle on pucks was real good, lots of chances to score, and good goaltending kept you from scoring… It was a really hard fought game."
Things don't get any easier for the Jets, who take on the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre Saturday afternoon on Hockey Day in Canada.
The Canadiens will be a motivated team coming off their bye week. Saturday's contest will be the first for Claude Julien behind the Habs bench after being hired by the club on Feb. 14.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
The move came after Montreal relieved Michel Therrien of his duties. The final straw came after a 4-0 loss to Julien's old club, the Boston Bruins on Feb. 12
"I wish we weren't going in on first game. I wish it was the second or the third, maybe the last one is always the best one to go in before a guy gets fired," Maurice said with a smile back on Wednesday at MTS Iceplex. "Michel is a good coach. We've crossed paths over the years back when he was in Montreal the first time. He'll land on his feet. He'll enjoy his time off, and the carousel will turn."
The Jets will be looking to avenge a 7-4 loss to Montreal earlier this season. That was a night when the team wasn't proud of their effort, unlike Thursday's contest in Pittsburgh.
"I think it was a good start for the road trip. One point is better than nothing," said Patrik Laine, who scored his 27th of the season in the loss.
"I'm proud of every guy who battled out there. I think we played well, and maybe would have deserved to win."
Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine
Winnipeg certainly had chances. In total, the Jets fired 47 shots at Marc-Andre Fleury, including four quality chances in overtime. Pittsburgh led 2-1 going into the third period, and were 23-0-0 in that situation heading into Thursday's tilt with the Jets.
Winnipeg gave the defending champs a scare, pulling in front of the Penguins 3-2 before Phil Kessel's power play marker tied things up, leading to Sidney Crosby's overtime winner.
"It's a bit of a disappointment. We didn't get the two points we wanted," said Dustin Byfuglien. "I think after the first period we picked the game up a little bit, and had a little bit more control. They're a good team over there. It's never going to be an easy night playing those guys."
After arriving at the hotel in Montreal shortly after 1:30 am Eastern time, the Winnipeg Jets stayed off the ice Friday, focusing on recovery ahead of Saturday's 1 pm CT face off against Montreal.
Stay tuned to WinnipegJets.com for line-up info closer to game time.