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Jets look for first playoff win vs. Ducks in Game 2

by Mitchell Clinton (@MClinton007) / Winnipeg Jets


AT THE MORNING SKATE

ANAHEIM, California -- Mathieu Perreault is doing everything he can to get back in the line-up.

The forward was injured in game 81 of the regular season in Colorado. He was listed as a game time decision for Thursday’s series opener against Anaheim, but didn’t crack the line-up.

Now with game two set to go tonight at 9:30 pm CT at Honda Center, Perreault’s status remains the same: Game time decision.

“It felt pretty good this morning. We'll see what the coaches are thinking,” Perreault said. “I'm just trying to get ready to play a game, and if I'm in, I'm in. And if I'm not, I'll keep trying to get better.”

Perreault took the morning skate in Andrew Ladd’s place, skating alongside Bryan Little and Michael Frolik. Ladd is expected to play tonight against Anaheim. For maintenance purposes, Paul Maurice has kept Ladd off the ice in morning skates.

Regardless of if Perreault plays tonight against the Anaheim Ducks or not, the Jets have discipline at the top of their mind for game two. The Ducks scored two power play goals in Thursday’s match up.

“Anything extra in the scrums, obviously we want to stand toe-to-toe with them. But anything extra, being drawn into penalties, we can control that,” said Drew Stafford, who scored his fifth career playoff goal in game one. “Other than that, we're not changing much. We're going to bring that same physical style. I know the hit count was getting up there. We expect that to be the same way throughout the whole series. We expect it to be a battle.”

The “hit count” Stafford referred to hit 83 when the final buzzer sounded between the Jets and Ducks on Thursday. That physical aspect of the Jets identity is something Maurice and his players have been working on since the start of the season, and they won’t change it now.

“The hitting in that game was above NHL norms, both teams sit above NHL norms over the 82 games. And (game one) was above our norms,” Maurice said following today’s skate. “I think that very few of the hits in the game, and what's different is both teams are good at it, came from being out of position.

“The player was where he's supposed to be. There's an opportunity to curl or finish. Which really doesn't change necessarily any outcome other than, we finish. And so does Anaheim.”

Maurice would also like to see the Jets win a few more face-offs after being successful 37.5 percent of the time in game one.

“Face-offs are critically important, then I don't know that analytically they are quite as important as we feel they are as coaches. That being said, we were much stronger in the first period,” Maurice said. “Then you've got some veteran centre men that were able to make the adjustment, not so much on our centre men, but on the linesmen. We were chasing the puck a little more than we needed to, or that we could probably sustain over time.”

Jim Slater won 60 percent of his draws in his 11:16 of ice time Thursday. But overall, he still feels he can be better.

“We definitely want to start with the puck off face-offs,” Slater said. “That's the thing, they're very good at getting control of it right away. We have to be better, for sure.”

Outside of Perreault being a game time decision, the Jets and Ducks are both expected to ice the same line up as Thursday night:

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Michael Frolik
Drew Stafford-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Lee Stempniak-Adam Lowry-Jiri Tlusty
Chris Thorburn-Jim Slater-Matt Halischuk

Mark Stuart-Jacob Trouba
Tyler Myers-Toby Enstrom
Dustin Byfuglien-Ben Chiarot

YOUNG CENTRE MEN

Though Paul Maurice is hoping for more face-off wins tonight, he couldn’t be happier with the progression of Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry.

Scheifele had an assist in game one, while Lowry’s goal 2:46 into the 1st, was the fastest a rookie has scored in an NHL playoff debut in eight years.

“So many times this year, the adversity we faced was absolutely the best thing that happened to us. Really Bryan Little being injured, there was a change in both those young centre men,” Maurice said. “They came into prominent roles. Lowry went into a bit of a shut down role with Ladd and Frolik. They've been heavily relied on in very, very important games. Especially very physical games in the Central Division. They've passed through that time of 'this is my first or second year.' They belong on the ice.”

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
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