Jets win again with Maurice behind bench

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Winnipeg Jets wanted a quick fix. So far, it is working.

Thanks to Thursday's 5-2 rout of the host Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Jets have won two consecutive games -- both in convincing fashion -- since head coach Claude Noel was fired and replaced by Paul Maurice.

"These guys want to win. They're no different than anybody else," Maurice said. "They're willing to do what you ask them to do and having a little bit of success just reinforces some of their hard work."

Centers Olli Jokinen, Bryan Little and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and assist Thursday for the Jets (21-23-5), who had lost five straight when Noel lost his job Sunday but beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-1 in Maurice's first appearance behind the bench.

Defenseman-turned-left winger Dustin Byfuglien and defenseman Jacob Trouba also scored for Winnipeg, while wingers Andrew Ladd, Chris Thorburn and Blake Wheeler each had a pair of assists.

"With a new coach, I think the guys are jacked up and just ready to get out there and turn things around," said Jets defenseman Keaton Ellerby. "We're playing hard. We're getting pucks in deep. We're not spending as much time in our own end. Our goaltending has been great. We're just doing the little things right. It's working out for us."

Nothing is working for the Flames (16-25-6), who lost their seventh straight game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, a new franchise record for the longest stretch without securing at least a point on home ice. The Flames have been outscored 22-4 during that stretch.

Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and left winger Lance Bouma were the only players to get a puck past Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who made 20 saves. Netminder Reto Berra did not have a good night for Calgary, surrendering five goals on 23 shots.

"I don't think there's a single guy in here who can be satisfied with our effort," said Flames center Matt Stajan. "It's like we give up a goal, go in a shell and keep waiting for something good to happen, but this game doesn't work that way. You have to go out and get it, go after it, and right now we're not. We're waiting for it. That's why we're at where we are."

Little struck first for the Jets just five minutes after the opening faceoff, capitalizing after Berra kicked right winger Michael Frolik's rebound into the slot area.

Byfuglien added to the lead about three minutes later, burying a shot from a prime scoring area after a setup by Jokinen, who spent parts of four seasons with the Flames.

Before some fans had even found their seats, the Flames were trailing 2-0 just 8:11 into the game.

"It's pretty tough to generate energy when you give the first two goals," said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. "They're two gifts, two gifts that we covered this afternoon in our team meeting. They were bad coverage right in front of our net. In the NHL, if you let guys get great shots right from 10 or 15 feet away from the net, you're looking for trouble.

"Obviously, with the way that we've played here in the past games, our confidence is very fragile and you put yourself down 2-0 just after a few minutes, we made it tough on ourselves."

Scheifele added to the misery for the home team, taking a pass from Wheeler for a tap-in at the 9:09 mark of the middle period.

Jokinen also had a wide-open net to shoot at when he added a power-play goal late in the second, freeing Bouma from the box after a tripping penalty.

Giordano finally put the Flames on the board just 40 seconds into the third period, firing a shot just inside the post from the right point.

Just over two minutes later, Berra was again fishing the puck out of his net after being beaten through the five-hole by Trouba.

Bouma added a meaningless goal with eight minutes remaining, deflecting a shot from defenseman Dennis Wideman after a faceoff win in Winnipeg's zone.

The Jets will shoot for a third straight win under Maurice when they host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

"If we want to make the playoffs this year, it's important to put wins together and we're doing a good job of forgetting the last game and focusing on the game ahead of us," Trouba said.

The Flames now embark on a two-game road-trip that starts with Saturday's matchup with the Vancouver Canucks.

NOTES: Jets RW Devin Setoguchi was not aboard Wednesday's flight to Calgary due to the flu but travelled on his own Thursday morning and was in Winnipeg's lineup against the Flames ... Jets LW Evander Kane, who injured his hand in a Jan. 7 scrap with Tampa Bay Lightning D Eric Brewer, was moved Thursday to injured reserve, joining D Grant Clitsome (illness), RW Matt Halischuk (forearm), D Paul Postma (blood clot) and C Jim Slater (hernia). With Kane out, the Jets recalled LW Carl Klingberg from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps. Klingberg has seven NHL games on his resume ... Flames C Blair Jones, who missed 12 consecutive contests due to a knee injury, participated in Thursday's morning skate but was not activated for the game. LW Michael Cammalleri (concussion), LW Curtis Glencross (ankle) RW David Jones (eye) and D Kris Russell (knee) are also missing from Calgary's lineup ... C Steve Begin, who skated for the Flames last season, announced his retirement Thursday after parts of 15 seasons in the NHL. "Steve had a career marked with great diligence and effort," said Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke in a statement. "On behalf of the Calgary Flames organization and ownership group, I congratulate him on his 15 year NHL career and wish him success in his future endeavors."
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