The Winnipeg Jets may be the geographic misfits of the Southeast Division but with wins in three straight games and in five of their last six overall, the Jets are also the division’s hottest team.
The Jets beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Thursday in their first game back in the Manitoba capital after a recently completed 4-1 road trip. Winnipeg is now tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the division lead as they prepare to host the Capitals on Saturday.
“To me it’s just the cohesiveness that you see with our team,” head coach Claude Noel told reporters in Winnipeg this week.
“The players care about playing and winning for each other and I think that those are the things that winning teams find a way to do. They find a way to get it done for the good of the group and I think that’s what has become evident for me.”
The Jets have also benefited from the strong play of late from captain Andrew Ladd and fourth year pro Evander Kane.
Ladd leads all NHL captains with 12 goals on the year and his 20 points in 20 games are also tops on the Jets this season. Kane had his career-high eight-game scoring streak snapped in Thursday’s win against New Jersey, but the 21-year-old has impressed with 6 goals and 10 points in his last 9 games.
“What I find with Evander is that he can handle minutes because he’s a good skater,” Noel said of Kane who is averaging just under 20 minutes of ice-time a game.
Ladd and Kane combined for two goals and three points in Winnipeg’s 4-2 win at Verizon Center on Jan.22. Dating back to the Jets’ days as the Atlanta Thrashers, Kane has nine goals and 13 points in 16 career games against the Capitals.