Seven wins away.
That’s how close the Winnipeg Jets came to raising the Stanley Cup last year before they were knocked out in the Western Conference final by the Vegas Golden Knights.
With the Jets winning their home opener Tuesday night, 2-1 over the Los Angeles Kings, the team knows that fans have high expectations this year after coming so close to glory.
And the team’s top centre says he’s ready for the challenge.
“That extra pressure is extra motivation,” said Jets forward Mark Scheifele.
University of Manitoba sports psychologist Cal Botterill thinks the Jets are more than capable of handling the pressure and can produce positive results.
“That’s one of the effects of becoming a favourite,” Botterill said. “You have more confidence and you play better.”
As for the fans, Botterill knows that no matter how much the team downplays expectations, fans will always have the bar high.
The captain says that’s exactly what the Jets plan to do this year.
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“We just worry about what we can control and that’s every single game,” Wheeler said.
The next time the Jets see action will be Thursday night in Nashville against the Predators.