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Jets confident they'll overcome adversity

by Patrick Williams
WINNIPEG Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel is maintaining a stiff upper lip, even as the setbacks pile up for his club.

"We'll get through it," Noel said after Saturday afternoon's 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the MTS Centre, the Jets' third consecutive loss. "I think we are all disappointed in the result. I'm certainly not going to beat up on my team. I'm happy with the way the guys played and responded."


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Defenseman Zach Bogosian joined Dustin Byfuglien this week as injured blueliners occupying space in the press gallery. Then in the second period against the Devils, right wing Blake Wheeler took a shot to his throat that ended his afternoon.

The Jets announced after the game that tests on Wheeler were negative, though his status going forward remains unknown. And while Bogosian may accompany the Jets on their two-game sojourn to Ottawa and New Jersey, Byfuglien, who has not played since Dec. 23, will again remain back in Winnipeg.

The Jets' loss on Saturday dropped their January record to 1-5-0 and marked the second time this week that they surrendered a third-period lead and went on to lose. The January slide has done undone some of the progress that a 10-3-1 mark in December had made in pulling the Jets back into the Eastern Conference race after a slow opening two months to their season.

Now the Jets face a stretch in which they will play 10 of their next 13 games away from home, with contests against the New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Florida Panthers among the road dates looming for a club that has just six wins away from Winnipeg all season.
"This is adversity and to me it's a good sign from a standpoint of what our team did," Noel said of the Jets' effort against New Jersey. "They were trying to go and deal with adversity straight on.

"We're not going around it. We're going straight at it. And that's really the message that we want to make sure that the players got."
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