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New Jets coach Maurice will focus on defense

Blue Jackets Jets Hockey

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Boone Jenner (38) scores on the penalty shot against Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) during second period of an NHL hockey game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)


For your review, here are the first three goals the Winnipeg Jets surrendered -- all in a span of less than eight minutes -- to Columbus on Saturday:

We’ll call that one “Mark Scheifele falls asleep, enables shorthanded 2-on-1, what was Zach Bogosian doing there?”

We’ll call that one “another odd-man rush surrendered, Jacob Trouba can’t be two places at one time.”

We’ll call that one “hey, don’t forget about Nick Foligno oh too late now.”

The Jackets’ fourth goal of the second period came on a penalty shot after Boone Jenner was hauled down on a breakaway.

All of which is to say, for all the blame that goalie Ondrej Pavelec has received in the wake of Claude Noel’s firing -- not to mention the criticism general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has received (from yours truly, for example) for signing Pavelec to such a big, long contract -- when a team plays defensively like the Jets played Saturday, it’s typically going to give up some goals, no matter who’s in net.

And that’s why, for new coach Paul Maurice, the first order of business is going to be “the defensive side of our game.”

“If I don’t put the structure in front of [our goalie], we can’t win,” said Maurice. “And if he doesn’t stop pucks, we can’t win.”

The Jets have allowed at least four goals in each of their last five games, all of them regulation losses.

They’ll try to tighten up a bit tonight when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.