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Jets remain confident heading into Game 2 against Blues

"The playoffs are so much about how you control your emotions." -Wheeler

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - No team has ever won 16 consecutive games to win the Stanley Cup - and the Winnipeg Jets didn't think they'd be the first.

So one day after the 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their best-of-seven First Round series, the Jets remain a confident squad.

"The playoffs are so much about how you control your emotions. You win a game and all of a sudden you feel like you're going to win the Stanley Cup. You lose a game and you feel like you have no chance," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler.

"The good teams find a way to manage those emotions. The team that won it all last year was a crossbar away from going 3-0 (down) in the First Round. Tampa tied the NHL record for wins this year and they're down 0-1. 

"There is so much parity in the league that if you're going to be devastated by a loss or even two losses, you have no business expecting to win a Stanley Cup."

Video: PRACTICE | Blake Wheeler

The fact St. Louis scored twice in the third period to turn a 1-0 Jets lead into a 2-1 Blues win certainly makes Wednesday's defeat a bit hard to swallow.

But the Jets were quick to point out that kind of adversity is going to come in the postseason. It's all about how they handle it the next time out.

"You can take all the good things you thought you did in the regular season, you're Tampa Bay and haven't given up a three-goal lead all year long, and boom it happens to you. Everything is brand new in the playoffs," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "You close one out, you feel better about that, and you have to keep doing that."

Two Jets got their first taste of the Winnipeg Whiteout postseason tradition last night: Kevin Hayes and Par Lindholm.

Video: PRACTICE | Kevin Hayes

Hayes played 15:19 and said while the team felt good about their play in some areas, but there are some things from the third period they'd like to clean up.

"Just getting back to the house and getting five guys low. That's the biggest thing we need to do," said Hayes. "The big thing was the neutral zone for both teams. I felt like defensively we did a good job and defensively they did a really good job. It was tough to get pucks deep. In order to be successful, we need to get pucks behind their (defencemen)."

As for Lindholm, 2:11 of his 11:27 was spent on the penalty kill, helping the Jets go 3-for-3 in that department.

Lindholm even had a shorthanded breakaway but couldn't convert.

"We just worked for each other," said Lindholm. "We felt like we wanted to block shots and make it hard for them. That's the key. Work hard and talk a lot so we know what's going on."

Video: PRACTICE | Par Lindholm

Maurice liked Lindholm's game on Wednesday. Lindholm and line mates Adam Lowry and Jack Roslovic topped the Jets in shot-differential percentage (with each player garnering a 66, 66, and 56 per cent share of the shot attempts at five-on-five respectively).

While the Jets never lost the first game of any of the three series they played in 2018, Maurice feels there are experiences his dressing room can lean on heading into Game 2 on Friday.

"Every one that you lost. It's the same emotion when you come in. You're going to lose games. There is a long list of Stanley Cup champions that got down two in the series or even in the opener that have come back," said Maurice.

"Handling that adversity is a story for every single team in the playoffs… Handling that is elemental in any success you'll have in the playoffs."

Video: PRACTICE | Mark Scheifele

With an 8:30 pm CT puck drop, some of the team's routines will be thrown off a bit. But as the players say, it's the same challenge for both teams - and it's one the Jets are embracing.

"We'd like to leave tomorrow night 1-1 going into their building, but there are so many things you can control," said Wheeler. "We're going to control all those things: Come with the right attitude tomorrow night and work our tails off. We think that's going to be enough."

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