Friday, October 14, 2011

Game #3: Jets @ 'Yotes

Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0) @ Phoenix Coytoes (1-1-1)
Saturday, October 15, 2011 Arena 6:00 PM CT
TV: CBC, FS-Arizona
Radio: TSN 1290

With a day between their last game and tonight's matchup with the team that was formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Claude Noel remains positive about the Jets progress through the first two games.

"We were a little bit better but so was the opponent," Noel told the Winnipeg Free Press.

"We got up to another level [Thursday] if you're dealing with levels. But obviously it's not enough."

The Jets charged out of the gate Thursday with two quick goals via Jim Slater, but a Chicago Blackhawks timeout after the Jets second goal proved to settle down an experienced Chicago squad, who rattled off four unanswered goals before the Jets made it close late in the game.

"We've played two playoff teams and they have beat us. So regardless of the score, if we think we're going to be in the playoffs, we're going to have to find somebody we can beat. There are no accolades for losing." Noel added talking to the Free Press.

The Jets now find themselves at 0-2 to start the 2011-12 season and facing an opponent that already has the feelings of an intense rivalry - the Phoenix Coyotes.

Formerly the Jets, the Coyotes have not had much success since their move to the desert in 1996. They have made the playoffs seven times in fourteen years, but have never made it past the first round.

The entire Coyotes/Jets franchise has not made it to the second round of the playoffs since the 1987 playoffs, when the Jets ousted Calgary. In all, the franchise has made it past the first round twice, both in Winnipeg and both in the mid-1980's.

However, the Coyotes did take the Detroit Red Wings to game seven in 2010 only to be swept in last year's spring dance. With the departure of franchise goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to Philadelphia, the Coyotes may see some struggles this season, both on and off the ice.

One player who still has ties to Winnipeg is Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who will suit up against Winnipeg for the first time in his career on Saturday night.

“It was the team that gave me the incredible opportunity to play my first NHL game. I don’t take that lightly.” Doan told the Globe & Mail.

For the 1-1-1 Coyotes, this will be their home opener and it is fitting that the Jets are the team to play.

The Coyotes lost the season opener in San Jose 6-3, lost to Dallas in a shootout, and on Thursday picked up their first win in Nashville 5-2.

Game time is 6:00 PM CT and is available on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and on Fox Sports-Arizona in the US. It is also available on the radio on Winnipeg's TSN 1290.

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