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Practice Day Notebook: A big win, power play chatter, and looking ahead

"Hopefully we can carry this momentum into our next two games." -Laine

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - Fresh off a two physical games coming out of the player break, only a few members of the Winnipeg Jets hopped on the ice for a skate on Sunday.

There were a number of things the Jets liked about their game - whether it was in the 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday, or in Saturday's big 5-2 win over the Central Division leading St. Louis Blues.

Those two points last night were an important reward for a team that had left it all on the ice against two of the NHL's best.

"It's a good feeling to get a win. I think we liked the way we played against Boston but couldn't get any points," said Patrik Laine.

"Everybody played hard. Everybody played the way we need to and want to. That was the result we needed and hopefully we can carry this momentum into our next two games."

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

It didn't come easy, of course. Holding a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, the Jets saw the Blues score twice in 2:30 to pull within one.

Winnipeg wouldn't be denied, though, as they potted two empty-netters to seal the victory.

"That was a little tough, especially when they get one and they get the second one so quick after too. There wasn't a panic on the bench or anything," said Kyle Connor, who assisted on Blake Wheeler's empty-net goal, the first of the two the Jets scored. 

"We knew what we had to do. We've been in that situation before, one goal games, we're pretty good this year if you look at the stats. We were pretty calm, stayed composed, and got the job done."

Those stats say the Jets are 15-6-4 in one-goal games and the team will likely have a lot more of them over the course of the playoff push.

The match-up with the Blues is the first of three consecutive games against Central Division opponents.

The Jets will host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night to close out a three-game home stand before travelling to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Thursday.

"Hopefully we get some confidence from yesterday. The schedule isn't getting any easier," said Laine. "So hopefully we can take all the good things we did from those games and try to bring them to the next two."

Video: PRACTICE | Patrik Laine

POWER PLAY CHATTER

Officially, the Jets went down as 0-for-2 on the man advantage against the Blues (the total time spent on the power play was only 2:25, however), which put them 0-for-8 in the two-game set against Boston and St. Louis.

On those eight power plays, the Jets fired 15 shots toward the opposition's net and even hit a couple posts. They're close to breaking through, and that's why head coach Paul Maurice isn't stressing about it.

"You worry about your power play when something dramatically changes in what they're doing that's out of structure," Maurice said.

"The Bruin game, it's about as right as it's going to get without scoring goals. There are three things that are going to happen on a power play. You go out and score goals, you go out and you don't score, but you don't lose momentum - that's where I feel we're at. 

The third one is you've got a problem with your confidence and you're losing momentum because you're not scoring."

Video: PRACTICE | Kyle Connor

Connor is tied with Mark Scheifele for the team lead in power play goals with seven this season. He says his unit with Scheifele, Laine, Blake Wheeler, and Neal Pionk are constantly communicating to find ways to beat the penalty kill units they're facing.

"After every rep we're talking and seeing what they did," said Connor. "Every team scouts you and knows what we're going to throw at them. There are little wrinkles here and there. If they have a right-handed shot defenceman on Wheels' side, where to put the puck or to Scheif in the hole. There's little adjustments like that that come into play. Every team we play there are going to be challenges like that."

STAYING ENGAGED

With his two goals against the Blues, Jack Roslovic has now set a career-high in goals with 11 - surpassing his previous best mark of nine in 2018-19.

His 22 points this season are two shy of the 24 he posted last season.

Maurice has noticed the development in Roslovic's game over time.

"Go back to last year to where he is today. It's fourth line minutes, he's a skilled guy, there isn't a lot of ice time for him there and we have people playing ahead of him," said Maurice. "Due to injury and other things, he ends up playing with Nik and Blake and it's really good for a while. A lot of it speed and skill and they're moving the puck."

Maurice made a change to that line when that puck movement became a bit more of a challenge and now with the injuries to Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault, Roslovic is playing with Copp.

"Andrew is a very easy player to read off and he's also very reliable," said Maurice. "Playing in the three hole, you're playing a different set of competition. But we get into that game last night and based on the way they had started their lines, I was playing them against Brayden Schenn.

"I'm not saying you have to play in the three hole all night, but when you're playing that well, we'll move you up and play against better players because your game is right."

The Jets head coach felt Roslovic's game was "right" against St. Louis. That means Roslovic was engaged in all areas of the ice, battling pucks out, and not just judging his game on offence.

"There is a big difference between his Boston game and his St. Louis game and it has nothing to do with the goals," said Maurice. "It has to do with the engagement in the game. That's really the young man's challenge - not just Jack, all young players. You stay engaged every shift.

"If the puck is in our end, you have to block a shot. You have to battle a puck out along the wall. You're an engaged player for 15-22 minutes."

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