Jets coach Noel doesn’t have ‘enough players to sit everybody’

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The Winnipeg Jets are really wasting a friendly schedule to start the season. Their latest loss came yesterday, 3-1 to the visiting Predators, dropping their record to 4-5-0 after nine games, seven of which have been at the MTS Centre.

Only Tuesday’s home game against Washington remains before the Jets head out on a four-game trip to Nashville, Dallas, Colorado and St. Louis.

For head coach Claude Noel, the frustration is evident.

“Right now I can’t find the right 12 to play together,” he said today. “Who’s my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th line? I don’t have enough players to sit everybody.”

Struggling forward Devin Setoguchi has been the most notable healthy scratch so far; the 26-year-old sat out Friday’s game versus the Blues. Many Jets fans would like to see Blake Wheeler sit next.

Whatever the lineup versus the Caps, the Jets need to start the game better than they’ve been doing. In the first and second periods combined, Winnipeg has been outscored 20 to 10. In three of their four victories, they’ve been forced to overcome a deficit.

It’s that sort of inconsistent play — be it period to period or game to game — that was a problem last season. Now it’s a problem again in 2013-14.

“We have said so many times that if we want to win we have to play the whole 60 minutes,” goalie Ondrej Pavelec said. “It’s been the same story all season long.”