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Simplicity the key as Jets prepare for Oilers

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

EDMONTON, Alberta - Momentum swings are bound to happen over the course of an 82-game season. They happen within every 60-minute game as well, and they were the focus of conversations within the walls of the Winnipeg Jets dressing room today.

In each of the team's first two regular season games, the Jets have allowed multiple goals in short stretches of playing time. Three goals in 2:38 against Toronto on opening night, and four goals in 9:56 in last night's 6-3 loss to Calgary.

"Hockey is such a passionate and emotional sport. When things don't go your way, you might get a little down, and when things are going well you're going to get a little up. I think it's just a mind set of worrying about your next shift," said Andrew Copp. "That's all you can control. You have to refresh your mind set a bit each time things aren't going your way.

"That's what we talked about a little bit today, and that has to be the mind set going forward."

Video: PRACTICE | Andrew Copp

The Jets skated for 45 minutes today in downtown Edmonton ahead of the second stop on the three-game trip tomorrow night against the Oilers.

Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien didn't take part. Wheeler led all forwards in ice time last night with 19:37, while Byfuglien's 25:02 led all Jets skaters.

Video: PRACTICE | Mathieu Perreault

Head coach Paul Maurice said today was used for maintenance for both players, adding they are two of the veterans the team can lean on when handling momentum swings in a game.

But at the same time, he feels the older players on the team are the ones taking the 0-2-0 start the hardest.

"They're trying to make the playoffs in October. It's like we're playing the deciding game every night, and when it got away from us, we're carrying too much weight," said Maurice. "We've got to play harder, compete harder, but we've got to do it through relaxing and playing the game, and occasionally breathing. You have to take one in every once in a while, hit the reset button, and go out and play."

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

Josh Morrissey had an assist in the loss to the Flames, and says the best way to respond in the minutes following the opposition scoring is to make simple plays, and not try to look for too much.

"It's managing the puck in certain situations in the game. You feel once they score obviously there is a two or three minute window when the other team presses pretty hard," he said. "You have to respond with simple plays and not give them anything sort of easy without them having to work for it."

Video: PRACTICE | Josh Morrissey

Maurice plans to give Connor Hellebuyck his first start of the season tomorrow night against Edmonton. Hellebuyck came on in relief of Steve Mason in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, making nine saves on 11 shots.

"(Steve) made some great saves in that game last game, and he's not getting a lot of breaks around in front of him either," said Maurice. "So Helly goes in. It's the right time."

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

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