Jets head down the stretch with division lead

 
Ondrej Pavelec Jets

Ondrej Pavelec and the Winnipeg Jets sit atop the Southeast Division with a month left in the regular season. (Tom Turk / THW)

After the Winnipeg Jets arrived back at MTS Centre for the first time this season with the southeast division lead, the second Jets to call Winnipeg home looked to build on the momentum they had after earning an epic 10-round shootout victory in Toronto to give them the No. 1 spot atop the division.

Following the 3-1 win against Boston, the Jets took nosedive allowing 10 goals over the course of back-to-back defeats at the hands of the division rival Washington Capitals.

Two of Washington’s standouts Alexander Ovechkin and Braden Holtby played some of the best hockey they’ve played all season. The Russian forward found a scoring touch in both games in Winnipeg as he totaled five points (3 goals, 2 assists) over the two evenings. Holtby backstopped his team to their second shutout at MTS Centre this season in Thursday’s contest. Friday night, Holtby extended his shutout streak in the city of Winnipeg to 150 minutes, 10 seconds.

To add to the unfavorable result, the MTS Centre faithful publicly displayed their distaste with team’s play chanting, “We want better!” during the third period of the Friday loss.

“I still like our team and we’re still at the top of our division, we’re still a team that I believe will make the playoffs and that’s where we’re going, Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel told the team’s website following Friday’s loss. The world is not going to end tomorrow, I don’t think.”

The Jets appeared to get the crowd’s message as they ended the homestand on a high note with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec appeared to be the Jet who heard the chants the loudest as he turned away 23 of 25 shots. In the two games against the Capitals, the Kladno, Czech Republic native allowed seven goals on 34 shots before being pulled 5:41 into the second period Friday night.

Tobias Enstrom Jets

Tobias Enstrom scored the game-winning goal in his first game back from injury. (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

In Sunday’s victory, the Jets were glad to have  their top defense pair back together for the first time in 19 games as both Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom both scored goals in the victory. In his 23:40 of ice time, Enstrom scored what turned out to be the game winning goal during 4-on-4 play in the second period.  The Swede snuck unimpeded into the slot and put home a tape-to-tape pass from Andrew Ladd over Tampa goalie Cedric Desjardins’ right shoulder.

Jets Back On the Road

Winnipeg now heads to the road for five of their next six contests, starting at Carolina. The Jets lead the Canes by by four points in the division standings, but Carolina has played 30 games compared to Winnipeg’s 33. Following a contest at the NHL’s hottest squad, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Jets are back at MTS Centre for the third of five contests with the Hurricanes. Winnipeg is then back on the road at the Rangers, Islanders and Canadiens.

The two match-ups with Carolina are pivotal if the Jets want to maintain their current division standing. If Winnipeg gets all four points and leaves none for the Hurricanes, they could increase their division lead to as many as ten points by Saturday.

The Jets can get as many as 66 points if they were to finish the regular season undefeated. If the Hurricanes or Capitals did the same they would earn, 68 and 63 points, respectively.

If you calculate each squad’s average point earned per game this season (the total number of points earned divided by the number of games played) and use that as a model to project the number of points they will earn in their remaining games, the Jets come out on top with 52 points. The Hurricanes follow with 51 points and the Capitals get 47 points.

The model breaks down as such:

First–take the point total the team currently has and divide it by games played. That’s the team’s points per game average thus far.

Second–take the points per game average and multiply it with the number of games remaining. This calculation is the projected number of points the team would get in their remaining games if they continued to follow the same pattern they have thus far.

The final step is to add the projected point total in the team’s final games with their current point total and you get the estimated point totals.

* Stat note: Point totals are by the nearest tenths place to the nearest whole number since there are no half points awarded in the NHL.

Luke Dixon

Luke Dixon

I've been a sports fan since before I can remember and although different from many of my southern peers, hockey has always been first (at least since 1999). I am a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in digital and broadcast journalism and political science. In addition to The Hockey Writers and Sunbelt Hockey Journal, I have written for UGA's student newspaper, The Red and Black and wrote for my high school paper, Grayson High School's the Green & Gold. I was also a stringer for the Macon Telegraph during the 2012 college football season. I am now a student assistant with Georgia Sports Communications. Outside of school and writing, I play on Georgia's club hockey team, the UGA Ice Dogs in Division III of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Luke Dixon

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