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Looking for spark, Jets recall Jaffray, Kulda

by Patrick Williams
WINNIPEG -- Subpar play on the ice means the Winnipeg Jets are beginning to shuffle their roster, starting with tonight's contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the MTS Centre.

The Jets are 0-3-2 in their past five games, their latest a 2-1 defeat coming on Saturday night at Columbus against the 30th-ranked Blue Jackets. That loss followed a 4-0 shutout by the Florida Panthers in Winnipeg last Thursday.

"We need a good game from a standpoint of work, discipline, details and energy," coach Claude Noel said.

In response to the recent poor play, the Jets recalled left wing Jason Jaffray from St. John's of the American League on Sunday. Jaffray had 7 goals and 12 points in 15 games with St. John's and recorded a hat trick with the IceCaps on Saturday night, earning himself the recall.

"He is a really solid AHL player who has really good character," said Noel, who had Jaffray as an AHL player last season. "He is a really sincere player. I don't want him to be more than what he is."

Jaffray's arrival has spelled the end of the Jets' top forward line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler that has combined for just six goals over the club's first 17 games.

"I'm just trying to get some things going," Noel said. "We're just trying to juggle around to jar some things. It's probably time."

The Jets also swapped young defenseman, re-assigning Paul Postma to the IceCaps and recalling Arturs Kulda.

Winnipeg enters a busy stretch back on home ice, where the Jets will play eight of their 11 next games. However, a difficult week looms with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers following the Lightning.

Noel downplayed the recent buzz about Tampa Bay's 1-3-1 system, stressing the need to avoid carrying the puck and turning over the puck against the Lightning's quick counterstrike.

"It's just a different system," Noel said. "They do a good job."

Back on Oct. 29, the Jets assembled one of their finest performances this season, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"It should give us confidence," Noel said of that game. "It showed we can play well and play for 60 minutes."

Here is the projected lineup for Winnipeg tonight:

Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Alexander Burmistrov - Bryan Little - Evander Kane
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler

Mark Stuart - Dustin Byfuglien
Johnny Oduya - Zach Bogosian
Arturs Kulda - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets, with Chris Mason serving as backup.
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