Saturday 4 April 2015

Win And You're In... Maybe

Well, that was a heckuva game, eh? Winnipeg and Vancouver went nose-to-nose and toes-to-toes today at MTS Centre with both teams wanting and needing a win. Winnipeg needed a win moreso than the Canucks in order to keep pace with the Flames and Kings, and a win wouldn't even guarantee them a chance to leap-frog the Kings who hold the tie-breaker. The Kings, who are currently leading the Avalanche, appear poised to regain the tie-breaker position between the Jets and themselves, so the next three road games for the Jets will either make or break this season in regards to making the playoffs.

This isn't going to be a cakewalk for the Jets either. They play Minnesota, St. Louis, and Colorado. Minnesota and St. Louis are still in battles for playoff positioning, so it's not like they'll rest up their top lines. And Colorado has a chance to play spoiler against the Jets after missing out on an opportunity to do so against the Kings depending on the last period of their game at the time of this writing. In other words, the Central Division is gunning for the Jets right now.

While the Bank of America is helping out the Boston Red Sox, no one is helping the Jets right now. Calgary keeps winning. Los Angeles keeps winning. The only saving grace is that the Kings and Flames play one another on Thursday before the Flames visit Winnipeg on Saturday. Those four points could be massive depending on how this road trip goes for the Jets. If they can keep pace, the Kings could jump into third-place in the Pacific Division while the Jets and Flames would battle for that last playoff spot, possibly right down Saturday, April 11 when they meet.

If they roll through this road trip 0-3, though, it's basically over and there is every reason to believe that Winnipeg could return home on April 11 with their dreams dashed. The magic number for Los Angeles is eight points in terms of eliminating the Jets from the playoffs, so it's basically a week's worth of Game Sevens for the Jets.

While they're at it, they need to hope that the Canucks, coming off the 5-4 loss to Winnipeg today, goes into their game with Los Angeles and hammers on them. The Jets also need the Flames to beat the Kings on Thursday, and maybe the Oilers and Sharks can play spoilers down the stretch. If you're a Jets fan right now, you're hoping the Pacific Division beats the hell out of the Kings.

The Jets still control their own destiny, but they need to beat some very good team to do so. In fact, they should want to beat both the Wild and Blues to send a message to both teams that the Jets are, in fact, a playoff-caliber team.

Every game is a must-win game for the Jets at this point. These next three road games, though, will determine if the Jets are going to the big dance or not.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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