SPORTS

Jets ready to respond to Ducks after Game 1 loss by keeping up physicality

04/17/2015 04:58 EDT | Updated 07/04/2015 05:59 EDT
ANAHEIM, Calif. - In the all-important, super-subjective hits column, the Jets and Ducks combined for 83 in a physical, bone-crushing Game 1. That didn't include countless post-whistle altercations or Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler nailing Anaheim's Clayton Stoner after the buzzer.

That's trademark Jets hockey, so don't expect much of it to change in Game 2 despite being down a game to open their first-round playoff series.

"It's something that we enjoy, it's the way we've been playing throughout the whole year," captain Andrew Ladd said Friday afternoon. "When we're moving and skating and we're on the body, that's when we're playing our best hockey. I would expect to see as much or more going forward."

Ducks forward Matt Belsekey figures the teams will approach 100 hits as the series goes on. Of course, it's not the number that matters but the physical toll it takes on players.

"Whether every guy's in the lineup at the end of the series, we'll see," Stoner said.

The road to the Jets contending with the big, strong Ducks in a heavy playoff series is paved with bruises. Winnipeg's best approach to responding to an even Game 1 is to keep up the physicality.

"It's in the DNA of both teams to play like that, so I think they're going to as long as they can," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I don't think Winnipeg or us are going to turn into a bunch of ballerinas and play that kind of game."

The Jets weren't tap-dancing around in Game 1, especially playoff rookies like Adam Lowry and Jacob Trouba who shined in the pressure situation. Coach Paul Maurice said fans "got their money's worth" in the entertainment department watching these teams go at it, and he was pleased with most of what Winnipeg did.

Adjustments will come, especially in the department of taking fewer untimely penalties and containing stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. After Mark Scheifele's post-whistle roughing penalty helped turn the tide in Anaheim's favour, one may be controlling emotions in scrums.

"There's a lot of emotion out there, those things are going to happen," defenceman Mark Stuart said. "Some things are called, some aren't, so you've got to try to keep it to where you can stay out of the box."

But the Jets are at their best playing on the edge. That means with the rough stuff and in big-picture situations, like the endured for several weeks in the regular season with their playoff hopes teetering.

That 9-3-1 run to qualify for the playoffs has the Jets feeling pretty comfortable facing a series deficit.

"We've been doing this for a month now in terms of playing big games and being on the wrong side of them and having to re-group and re-focus and get excited to play again," Ladd said. "Nothing that we're not used to now. We have the right guys in the room to lead the way and get the group re-focused and ready to go."

On the ice that means Ladd, Scheifele, Wheeler and Bryan Little trying to match the potent duo of Getzlaf and Perry. Behind the bench, Winnipeg has Maurice to help in the department of re-focusing for Game 2.

Maurice on Friday was cracking jokes in his news conference like handing out adjustment lists to the media and going over the top in praising the Ducks. When he was serious, he was also confident the Jets are ready to come back in the series.

"We have a routine now to handle just about everything," Maurice said. "Some of those losses that we had in the last month, there was a higher cost to than we'll find from that last one. ... We've done it well in the past and I expect we'll do it well again."

Note — Mathieu Perreault, who missed Game 1 with a lower-body injury, took part in an optional practice at Honda Center, but Maurice did not reveal whether the forward would be available for Game 2.

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