Hextall on Hockey: The Winnipeg Jets’ winning ways

The Winnipeg Jets set a franchise record for most wins in the month of November – victors in 10 of the 14 games they played.

How are they doing it? How are the Winnipeg Jets winning?

That’s the question the hockey world wants an answer to.

A year removed from being deemed Stanley Cup favourites, no one picked the Jets to be Cup contenders. In fact, many predicted they would miss the playoffs.

Winnipeg saw several subtractions to its lineup and a deficit on defense with the abrupt and unplanned absence of Dustin Byfuglien. Tack on to that the 93 man-games lost to injury through the 27 games the Jets have played.

But yet, here they stand in a playoff position.  So, how are they doing it?

Goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck is tied for the league lead in wins with 13 and statistically is in the top three of the NHL’s starting goaltenders.

Then there’s adapting and accepting roles. Whether it’s Blake Wheeler filling in as the second line centre or Mathieu Perreault playing his off-wing with no complaint, the players understand there is a new normal this season and ruffled feathers will not be tolerated.

Which leads to the most pivotal piece to the Jets’ success this season – Paul Maurice.

Maurice and his staff have done an exceptional job filling the voids, managing players and creating an identity for this group as a team that has skill but will need to grind and work harder than its opponent every night.

Maurice is having a Jack Adams-type season and the tone from the top is translating on the ice into wins.

That’s how they’re doing it. That’s how the Winnipeg Jets are winning this season.

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