By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
WINNIPEG — It had been nearly two and a half weeks, and seven games since the Winnipeg Jets had scored more than a single goal in regulation time. And while the goal-thirsty squad has taken a bit of a slide in the standings over that span, they came out with a solid effort Tuesday night, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 at MTS Centre.
“It wasn’t a Picaso, but we got the win and we’re happy with that,” said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel. “We had to get back going again, especially at home. It didn’t let us get away from that line. A loss would not have been good at this time.”
Watch post-game reaction:
Noel states the obvious as his team — still looking to capture a playoff spot above that “line” — had gone 2-4-1 in their last seven games coming into Tuesday. The win keeps them in the hunt, but they remain firmly in tenth place in the Eastern Conference and five points out of that coveted eighth spot.
The lack of scoring has been an obvious liability, but responsible play in their own end has allowed the Jets to keep the average combined score in their last seven games to exactly three goals, where they’ve gone 3-4-0. The team remains in the NHL’s bottom five in goals per game.
“(Since the all-star break) we’ve been solid defensively, and our goaltending has been really good too,” said Jets leading scorer Blake Wheeler. “That’s the frustrating part, if we could get the offense going a little bit better we probably could’ve won one or two more of those games.”
The Jets are now 25-24-6 on the year, and with only 27 games remaining, they will need a serious push to make it above that “line” come mid-April. The time is now, as they head back out on a four-game road swing starting with division rival Washington on Thursday.
A win there would put them within two points of the Southeast Division lead — a spot that would seed them way up at No. 3 come playoffs.
Following the trip, Winnipeg plays 12 of their next 13 games at MTS Centre where they tout a comfortable 16-8-2 record this season.
ChrisD.ca video/Darrin Bauming