Maurice wins in Jets’ debut
WINNIPEG—New Winnipeg Jets’ coach Paul Maurice had a message for the team after they swarmed the Phoenix Coyotes last night.
“I went in and talked a little bit about what I saw, congratulated them on facing some tough adversity and winning, thanked them, and then proceeded to cancel the day off that they had tomorrow,” he said after the Jets’ 5-1 victory that snapped a five-game losing streak.
“We’ve just got to get better.”
It was his first night behind the bench after taking over from Claude Noel, who was fired as the Jets struggled lately to beat even teams below them in the standings.
The Coyotes (21-15-9) don’t fit into that category although they, too, have struggled recently after a strong start.
They opened the season at 14-4-4 but have gone 7-11-6 since—with last night being their third loss in a row.
“It can’t get much lower and we have to get better,” said Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan.
“It seems that we find new ways [to lose] every time,” he noted. “We haven’t really had an issue with discipline so far this year with penalties and this time we did.
“You can’t create much offence when you’re short-handed.”
Phoenix handed the Jets eight power plays although, with one of the worst records in the NHL with the man advantage, Winnipeg only managed to capitalize on one of them.
Fans who have been booing the lacklustre play of the home team lately were on their feet cheering and clapping for much of the game.
They didn’t even wait until the game started to show how they felt about the coaching change. Maurice got his first cheer during the national anthem when his face showed on the scoreboard.
“It’s a whole lot nicer being on the home bench when you win, I’m sure, but it was a very special moment for me in my career and I’ll cherish it,” said the coach.
Olli Jokinen, Eric O’Dell, Blake Wheeler, Michael Frolik, and Devin Setoguchi all scored for the Jets (20-23-5), who outshot the Coyotes 38-19.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for Phoenix, but it was the only shot Ondrej Pavelec would let in and he won praise for his play from his new coach.
“I felt safe with him,” said Maurice.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Calgary blanked Carolina 2-0, L.A. nipped Vancouver 1-0, and Columbus edged Tampa Bay 3-2.