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Jets need to start flying at home

Carolina Hurricanes v Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, CANADA - OCTOBER 22: The Winnipeg Jets salute their fans after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in NHL action at the MTS Centre on October 22, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

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The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to feed off their crowd. They were supposed to use the emotions of a city that finally got its NHL team back. The MTS Centre was supposed to be a tough place to visit for the opposition.

That was the theory at least. So far it hasn’t turned out that way. The Jets are an unexceptional 3-3-0 at home as they prepare to host the Capitals tonight.

“We have the tools in place. We have a great building. We have great fans,” Jets defenseman Mark Stuart told the Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s about jumping on teams right away with the first few shifts, sticking up for each other and playing physical. It can be like a pack mentality at home and fans feed off it.

“Now it’s just a matter of putting that effort in place consistently to form that identity because it’s a process. The teams that have done that over the last few years, it took them awhile to develop and establish that their buildings are hard places to come into and play.”

The last game at the MTS Centre was a good one for the Jets – the home team hammered the Lightning, 5-2, on Monday. If Winnipeg is going to make a run at the playoffs, it’ll need a lot more games like that.

“It’s important for us to get some wins here,” said Jets forward Tanner Glass. “This is a city that knows its hockey and is a knowledgeable fan base. And so they’re not going to just mindlessly cheer for you. You’ve got to give them a reason.

“And you’ve got to do it consistently.”