-- During the push for the playoff spot the Winnipeg Jets earned this season, they had to rebound from some tough losses. It’s something they did well down the stretch, so following Thursday’s loss to Anaheim, Paul Maurice had a few one-liners ready for the media.
“I’m going to have a list of all the adjustments that we will make in our game printed out and handed out tomorrow morning,” he joked when asked about Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry’s combined seven points in game one. “They're good players so you can't be surprised when they do generate some offence over the course of the game… I was very comfortable with the volume of offence we gave up in the game.”
Mixed in with his remarks, Maurice said he liked how his team played in the 4-2 loss. With a number of players experiencing their first taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs, he felt the Jets handled the situation well.
“The result of the game wasn't hinged on experience,” he said. “We came out right. We came out, for a young team with little playoff experience, playing very well. I was happy with that, and now the series is on.”
Blake Wheeler, who played 18:20 last night, felt the Jets almost responded within seconds of Corey Perry putting Anaheim up 3-2.
“They dropped the puck and we almost had a breakaway,” Wheeler said. “I thought we reacted decently. It was tough the way they took the lead, especially the time of game. There were five or six minutes left, and you're not really sure if it's a goal or not. So there's kind of some emotion that goes into that. I thought we handled it alright.”
That was just one of the chances the Jets didn’t convert. While up 2-1 in the 2nd, Chris Thorburn had an opportunity turned away by Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen, and Wheeler himself had his diving attempt turned away by the goal post.
“I thought there were moments in that game to extend the lead. The bulk majority of the game was pretty good,” Wheeler said. “We got into penalty trouble and they capitalized on a couple of their bounces. That's the way it goes.”
But Mark Stuart doesn’t feel all of the burden should fall on the shoulders of Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, or Bryan Little.
“We need everybody to come through. We're a team that everybody contributes. We got some big goals last night by a couple guys and that's going to need to continue,” Stuart said. “Our 'big guns' are going to step up. They always have. They have all year. But we're a team that looks to everybody.”
Eleven skaters took part in Friday’s practice at Honda Center. One of those was Mathieu Perreault. Maurice said there is no update on his availability for game two. For the rest of the Jets, Friday was used to recover from a physical game one.
Stuart’s eight hits in last night’s contest jump off the stat sheet. The next closest player for either team was Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano, who had six. In total, the two teams combined for 83 hits on Thursday.
“It’s the playoffs, you don’t like anybody,” Stuart said with a grin. “I think it's just part of the game. That's what we brought all year. Once you get to the playoffs it naturally amps up a little bit. We expected that in game one. I think it will continue and probably increase.”
Maurice agrees with Stuart, and was complimentary of the veteran’s play in game one with his blue line partner, Jacob Trouba. Both players had an assist in game one.
“They played a physical game and they were completely comfortable in that game,” Maurice said of the defensive pair. “There were a couple battles in front of the net with Stuart and the sticks are going both ways, and that's home for him. He's smiling when it's over.”
Winnipeg Jets fans hope to be smiling throughout game two, which gets underway tomorrow night at the Honda Center at 9:30 pm central time.