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Winnipeg Jets look for bounce back performance as they return home to face Wild

Minnesota Wild left wing Pat Maroon, right, fights Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Bailey Hillesheim) Minnesota Wild left wing Pat Maroon, right, fights Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Bailey Hillesheim)
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The Winnipeg Jets started with a bang Monday afternoon against the Calgary Flames, but by the time the clock hit zero, the game was a bust.

The Jets burst out to a 3-1 lead in the first thanks to Sean Monahan tallying his second career hat trick. However, the Flames would score five straight after that and go on to get the 6-3 win.

Following the game, Head Coach Rick Bowness said it was the softest performance from his team at five-on-five this season.

"That's not us at all. It didn't look like the Winnipeg Jets at all," Bowness said on Monday. "We just had nobody going, other than Sean (Monahan) and our goalie."

It's a new day for the Jets though, who are right back at it on home ice against the Minnesota Wild.

It's the third meeting between these two divisional foes, with Winnipeg winning both prior matchups at the end of December.

"We play hard against Minnesota. They play hard against us. It's going to be a good game," Bowness said during a news conference Tuesday.

"That's the thing with this league that we all talk about - you play a bad game, you're pretty close, you're going right back out (there to) turn things around. So we talked about that last night - we flush it and prepare for Minnesota."

The Wild also played on Monday and had a much different result than the Jets. They were down 5-2 against the Vancouver Canucks before storming back with a seven-goal third period to grab the 10-7 win.

"There's a lot of fight in that team over there, and that's what we're going to see from them tonight."

Tempers have flared between these two teams this season. The first game saw Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov leave with an injury after receiving a few cross-checks from Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon.

Dillon and Wild defenceman Jake Middleton would drop the gloves in the third period.

The fisticuffs continued the next day with Adam Lowry and Pat Maroon trading jabs off the opening faceoff.

There was also some controversy afterward, when it was revealed Ryan Hartman purposely hit Cole Perfetti in the face with his stick off a faceoff, which resulted in Perfetti needing a few stitches.

Bowness thinks those incidents are behind both teams as each is in a battle for playoff positioning.

"There's a lot at stake for them," said Bowness. "It's a whole new game. The players dictate all of that. We wish we kind of kept it out of the media. That's our side, but it didn't so you deal with it. But the most important thing for both teams tonight is the two points, and the players will take care of things on the ice."

Before the game, the Jets will recognize Black History Month by paying tribute to alumnus Bill Riley.

Riley was the first Black player in the Winnipeg Jets organization – playing 14 games in the 1979-80 season. Riley was also the third Black player in NHL history when he joined the Washington Capitals in 1974.

Tuesday's game gets underway at 7 p.m. C.T. at Canada Life Centre.

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