|Jets aim to continue ascent vs. lowly Red Wings|
The Winnipeg Jets are winning with greater authority over the past two weeks. Playing the worst team in the NHL twice in three nights gives them a golden opportunity to record two easy victories.
The Jets rolled past the downtrodden Detroit Red Wings 5-1 in Winnipeg on Tuesday. They'll play the rematch in Detroit on Thursday.
Winnipeg has notched four of its last five victories by three or more goals. All but three of the Jets' previous 14 wins were decided by one goal.
"We don't care how we get it, as long as we get it," Jets forward Patrik Laine told NHL.com. "That's been our mindset the whole year. We've been in a lot of one-goal games this year and we've been really good at them. Obviously, we've had a couple of these 5-1, three- to four-goal wins as well, so it's probably good for our confidence."
The Jets, who lost in the opening round of the playoffs to eventual champion St. Louis last spring, are within striking distance of first place in the Central Division. They've won their last two games and haven't suffered back-to-back losses since mid-October.
"I think we've showed everybody that we're going to be a good team this year," Laine said. "I don't want to say we are going to make the playoffs. We have that kind of team that can have a good run. We want to be that team who plays in the conference final again. We've been that team in the past and we want to be that team this year, too."
Laine scored on Tuesday and has 14 points in his last 12 games. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp also scored during the Jets' three-goal second period.
Their specialty teams were also effective. Adam Lowry tallied a short-handed goal in the opening period and Mark Scheifele fired in his 14th goal this season on a third-period power play.
Winnipeg's defense was strong, as the Wings only managed 17 shots on goal.
Christoffer Ehn scored his first goal of the season for Detroit.
Otherwise it was another miserable night for the Wings, who have lost 12 straight. They've lost in regulation the last 10 games.
Detroit did get a little healthier as fourth-line forward Justin Abdelkader (hand) returned after missing 15 games with a hand injury and defenseman Trevor Daley (lower body) played for the first time in 17 games.
The Wings are still without Anthony Mantha, who was leading the team in points (23) when he suffered a lower-body injury on Nov. 23.
"It is frustrating. Defensively, too, it's frustrating," center Dylan Larkin said to NHL.com. "Everything right now isn't going for us. When you try to force it, it makes it worse sometimes. We need to find answers. I think Anthony is coming back soon ... so when we get our guys back, we feel our top six is dangerous and it frees up space for our line and other guys to match up well against other teams."
The Wings have allowed five or more goals in half of their 32 games.
"Obviously our goal differentiation is terrible," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've got to find a way to get some confidence and moxie back into us. We're not a good enough team right now. The only people that can change that is us."
--Field Level Media