Being In Claude Noel's Doghouse Did Winnipeg Jets' Alexander Burmistrov Some Good

By Stephanie Lewark
James Guillory – USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets head coach, Claude Noel, has played forward Alexander Burmistrov more than his season average of 15 minutes and 14 seconds in each of the last five games, including 20 minutes and 45 seconds this past game. This being after Noel took Burmistrov out of the lineup in March for four games due to his less than average play.

The Winnipeg Jets have been struggling to clinch a playoff spot, so the team’s focus has been one game at a time and doing what they can to win. Currently one of the ways they’re doing that is placing Burmistrov on a third-line, shutdown role with teammates Eric Tangradi and Mike Santorelli and it seems to be working.

This role along with his sitting out for a few games last month seems to be working for Burmistrov and that is, in turn, increasing Noel’s trust in him and contributing to the team’s success. The team has won five consecutive games and since his return on Mar. 19, Burmistrov has recorded one goal and two assists with a plus/minute of +4. The team is calling on all lines to make a difference and they are with Burmistrov being part of one of the two lines making a difference down the stretch. Noel explained why it’s working to the Winnipeg Free Press:

“It makes them feel more part of it,” Noel said. “Plus it shows you we are capable of other people contributing, so it’s good for everybody.”

The Jets have just four more games left in the regular season starting with the New York Islanders this Saturday afternoon. They will need to make the most of each of these games and earn as many points as they can to get ahead of the New York Rangers who are in the last playoff spot at eighth in the standings.

Stephanie Lewark is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Senior Writer for Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.

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