Jets’ Maurice: ‘This franchise doesn’t move forward until it can defend’

Patrick Marleau scored twice in his debut for the Maple Leafs as they chased Steve Mason from the net and beat the Jets 7-2 to kick off the season.

The Winnipeg Jets were shellacked 7-2 at home by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening game of the 2017-18 NHL season.

Their reward? A bag skate rigorous practice.

“That wasn’t even close to a bag skate. Nobody puked,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice told reporters in Winnipeg Thursday.

Patrik Laine called the loss “embarrassing” before criticizing his team’s defensive performance.

“If the opponent scores seven goals, there’s something we did wrong with our defence,” the Finnish winger said Wednesday night. “It’s obviously frustrating because we were practising defence so much and the first regular season game the opponent scores seven goals. That’s not the ideal start.”

Maurice echoed Laine’s message following the hard skate.

“This franchise doesn’t move forward until it can defend,” Maurice added. “You can put all the talent in the world on the ice and you are not winning a damn thing until you have a good comfort to defend.”

The Jets had a potent offence a season ago, scoring the seventh-most goals in the league, however they also allowed the fourth-most goals and missed the playoffs.