WINNIPEG - Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets aren't overly concerned about it just yet, but they know they're going to have to generate more shots and offensive-zone time if they want to win more in the long run.
The Jets are coming off a 4-3 loss last night after having a two-goal, first-period lead erased by four straight Minnesota goals in the final 40 minutes. Winnipeg tallied just eight shots in the second and third periods combined, including just two in the middle stanza when the Wild had 12 and sunk three in under eight minutes of game play.
"We're in that low-20's in terms of shots, and we're not getting shots blocked either - the shot attempts and zone time, especially, are really down. And yet, we're finishing on what we have," said Maurice, noting that the Jets have scored a respectable eight goals on 43 shots - a strong, but likely unsustainable shooting percentage (18.6%) - through two games.
"It's not necessarily a function of creating more offence; it's about where you're playing the game. … If you're in your end for 25 or 30 seconds, then you're in a dump and change scenario and we're losing that battle. We haven't spent enough time in the offensive zone and we've lost pucks in the offensive zone that have hurt us. That was the theme today (at practice), picking pucks off walls and getting more motion. If you're not getting it to the net, that's still a place you want to play so if it comes out, they're the ones changing."
Video: PRACTICE | Mathieu Perreault
Five-on-five, the Wild had 36 of the 63 total shot attempts (57%) last night, meaning the Jets were hammed in their own end for more than half the night at even strength. The power play tilted the scales even further, with the Wild scoring once on four opportunities, while the Jets went 0-for-3.
Some of it can be attributed to the team's defensive play, which is a "work in progress," according to the coach, but there are some positive signs the team is leaning on. According to veteran forward Shawn Matthias, it all starts with possession.
Video: PRACTICE | Shawn Matthias
"We need to hold on to pucks, wear their D down, get it up and throw things at the net and have bodies there to retrieve the puck and keep the pressure on. We can't be 'one-and-done,' so we did some work on that today and hopefully we'll be better tomorrow."
Added Maurice: "We've got to get some quickness into our offensive zone time and then we want to create a little more chaos in their end than we've seen.
"It's a dangerous thing. When you start talking about creating more offence, you end up digging it out of your net a whole lot more. It has to be generated a certain way."
That's what the Jets were working today in preparation for tomorrow's game against the Boston Bruins.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com