WINNIPEG - It hasn't been easy. But the Winnipeg Jets have 18 wins at the 30 game mark of the 2019-20 season.
Because of the way the Jets have achieved those 18 victories there should be little to no concern they will be looking past the last place Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night here in Winnipeg.
"We have to pay more attention to them (the Red Wings) because of how they are viewed," said Paul Maurice following a 35 minute practice at Bell MTS Iceplex today.
"You give the exact same attention to any team in the league. We would have scratched and clawed to 18-10-2 because we have had no arrogance in our game."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
Detroit hasn't won a game since November 12th, have a -58 goal differential and have been held back by injuries to key players.
"They are a team that works hard. We watched a lot of video the other day. I think their last game was probably one of their best against Pittsburgh (a 5-3 loss)," said Andrew Copp.
"They were really good. They were hard on pucks. I know the makeup of their team revolves around guys like (Dylan) Larkin. He's a guy that loves the game, never quits and is one of the hardest working people I know. That's kind of the makeup of their team, it's going to be a grind tomorrow for sure."
Video: PRACTICE | Andrew Copp
Last night's win over Anaheim was a great example of the Jets not doing things the easy way. They gave up 1-0 and 2-1 leads and their power play struggled until Mark Scheifele scored 23 seconds into a Ryan Getzlaf tripping penalty in the third period. The power play has a goal in just three of the last nine games.
"The power play we've had shots. What it's supposed to look like up until the puck goes into the net and our shooting percentage isn't what it should be," said Maurice.
"Our shot numbers are very close to where they were last year and we're starting to get those looks like Mark (Scheifele) in the slot or Mark backdoor, Patty or vice versa. We're good with where it's at."
Adam Lowry, Neal Pionk, Tucker Poolman and Nathan Beaulieu did not take part in practice this morning but none of the four are expected to miss the first game of the home and home series with the Red Wings.
So without those players available the Jets forward lines looked like this morning:
Lowry left for a short period of time during the second period last night against the Ducks. After he returned he did not take another face off, so Andrew Copp stepped in at centre and won 73 per cent of his draws. It's been that type of season for the Jets, players just stepping into spots and doing what it takes to help the team win.
"Both those guys (Lowry and Copp) because they go out first on the penalty kill and they take their weak side face offs as well," said Maurice.
They are getting really meaningful faceoffs as well. Going to back to where we were three years ago in the middle we struggled. (Assistant coach) Todd Woodcroft does an awful lot of work, prep work for all of our centremen in helping them prepare and Blake (Wheeler) has been just fantastic in the middle. Our faceoff wins have been a piece to our penalty kill improvement."