Mailbag: Winnipeg becoming a tough out

Updated: December 9, 2011, 11:54 AM ET
By Craig Custance

Don Maloney realizes that the Winnipeg Jets' fans may have been a little extra fired-up to face his team based on the history. Still, the Phoenix Coyotes' GM came away so impressed with what he saw in Winnipeg last week that he thinks the MTS Centre has already become the toughest building for opposing teams to visit.

"The fans are all-in," Maloney said during a Thursday chat. "We were like the evil empire or something, but I hear they treat other teams the same way. It's the loudest building in the league right now. Normally, the Canadian fans are a little more reserved. They sit there and watch the games. For me, it was a whole new experience for a Canadian game. They were into it."

Lately, the Jets have been giving them something to cheer for besides just the return of the NHL. Winnipeg is 8-4 this season at home and only two Eastern Conference teams entered Thursday's games with more home wins (Washington and Boston). The Jets are in the midst of a stretch of the schedule in which they play 13 of 15 at home, including tonight's game against the Hurricanes. It could be the most crucial portion of their entire season. They've won three consecutive games at home, including an impressive 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins that put the Jets right back into the playoff mix.