Jets-Flames Preview

The Associated Press

Paul Maurice has already made his presence felt with the Winnipeg Jets.

Looking to build on the victory in his debut as coach, the Jets try for the franchise's first road win over a Calgary Flames team that hopes to avoid a club-record seventh straight home defeat Thursday night.

A day after Maurice replaced the fired Claude Noel, Winnipeg (20-23-5) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-1 home win over Phoenix on Monday. It was the team's most lopsided victory in two months.

"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 (Tuesday)," said Maurice, who will coach the Jets through the end of this season.

"It was good enough (Monday), but we can't rely on that being good enough in our next game. We've just got to get better."

That no-nonsense approach and demanding style helped Maurice earn 460 wins with the Hartford/Carolina franchise and Toronto. The 46-year-old Maurice, who took the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002, spent last season coaching in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

"Every coach is different," said Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who made 18 saves to win Monday after going 0-5-0 with a 4.72 goals-against average in his previous six starts.

"He wants us to work hard and be intense every shift, every time we step on the ice."

Though the Jets are in 12th place and 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, they hope to have begun a turnaround with Maurice after overcoming an early 1-0 deficit against the Coyotes and recording 38 shots.

"We all know it's one game," Pavelec said. "It's up to us how much were are going to build our confidence. We have to do those things that will help us get those two points every night."

The Jets hope to avoid a season-high fourth straight road loss and end the franchise's all-time 0-6-0 drought in Calgary (16-25-6), where they have been outscored 26-11 and lost every game by at least two goals.

The Flames, though, have been outscored 17-2 while suffering a club-record six straight regulation home losses. It's the second time this season they've matched the franchise's overall single-season mark for consecutive home losses.

Calgary has lost eight of 10 overall, totaling 10 goals and getting shut out five times. The Flames allowed three third-period goals in a 4-2 defeat at Nashville on Tuesday.

Mikael Backlund scored for the third straight game, but his teammates have just two in that span.

"It's nice for personal confidence," said Backlund, who has eight goals on the season. "That's what everybody wants to do, and everybody tries to do. I'm happy about it, but at the same time, if we don't win games, I'm not satisfied."

Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has four goals and seven assists in his last 10 games. Byfuglien has five of each over his last nine matchups with the Flames, including the playoffs, and had one goal and one assist in a 5-4 shootout loss at Winnipeg on Nov. 18.

That was the teams' only meeting this season and Calgary's fourth straight win in the series.

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