WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets held practice for the final time at BELL MTS Iceplex on Friday before departing on a three game Western Canada road trip that starts in Calgary on Saturday night against the 0-1 Flames.
There were no changes to the lines and defense pairings from Thursday's skate, so Nic Petan could make his season debut on a line with Shawn Matthias and Adam Lowry.
Speaking of Lowry, he quietly led the Jets forwards in ice time on Wednesday against the Maple Leafs with 20:23, thanks in large part to all the power play and penalty kill time he logged.
"He's going to do both. We'd like to stay out of the penalty box and on a percentage basis in the game we did that relative to our opponent (Toronto)," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "He does a great job net front. He's a good screener (on the power play) and he gets his handle on the pucks. We need him to kill penalties as well, he's in the three hole in terms of our lines so his 5-on-5 time will be reasonable."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
"It's always nice to play a lot," added Lowry. "We would have liked to have converted on some of those power play opportunities. I don't think it will be too often I have the most ice time out of our forward group."
Statistically, the score sheet says the Jets went 0-for-8 with the man advantage, but Lowry believes that's where the team excelled in terms of generating offence.
"You look at the puck movement and the changes we were able to create on the power play, it wasn't like we had a tough time getting into the (offensive) zone or we couldn't set up or have any zone pressure," explained Lowry. "We fired 16 or 17 shots, and one of the goals was right at the end of the power play. Obviously, you are going to feel a lot better about yourself if you score two or three power play goals on those eight opportunities.
"I think the message in our room right now is that the power play is moving in the right direction. Obviously, it's the results that matter but there is something we can build off of."
Video: PRACTICE | Adam Lowry
The Jets worked to improve on the defensive side of things over the last two days, and that work will be important against two more playoff teams from 2017 in Calgary and Edmonton to start the road trip. Maurice felt the team responded well in the two practices following the loss to Toronto on opening night.
"(They) worked hard yesterday," said Maurice. "Our first 23 minutes of practice today was about speed and they had an awful lot of it. So they were rolling pretty good today."
"The last couple of days here we've really come to the rink working hard," added Josh Morrissey. "It's been not as cheerful and what not because no matter what, no one likes to get embarrassed like that, so obviously we put it behind us. The last two days we've really upped the intensity at practice and we want to take that business attitude into this road trip."
Video: PRACTICE | Josh Morrissey