For the fourth straight season, the Winnipeg Jets are in the middle of a tight race for one of the final remaining playoff spots in their respective conference (the first two seasons back in the league were in the Eastern Conference). Entering play on March 12, the Jets find themselves with 78 points through 67 games which is good enough for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Unfortunately for Winnipeg, the team has been finding new and impressive ways to lose games, and has seen a cushion of eight points at the All Star break whittle down to just one point over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. It’s an all-to-familiar sight for the Jets and their fans that has them worried and anxious about the final stretch of the season.
With just 15 games to go until the end of the regular season, the Jets have their work cut out for them before the city can host its first playoff game since 1996. While it’s impossible for mere mortals to know the future, I just so happen to possess a magic crystal ball that has blessed me with the ability to look at the rest of the Jets’ schedule.
This ball — okay, it’s really just NHL 15, jeez — has shown me the results of the remaining Jets games, and I feel it’s only right to share the results with you all right now. So, will Winnipeg make the playoffs this season, or will it be yet another year of stumbling down the stretch and missing the big dance? Let’s find out, shall we?
Game 68: @ Florida Panthers
- Jets Win 4-3: An Andrew Ladd goal with 12:44 remaining in the third proves to be the game winner. Jets keep their slight playoff lead. (80 points)
Game 69: @ Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jets Lose 7-1: This one isn’t even close. Steven Stamkos records four goals for the Lightning as they thump the Jets. Hutchinson pulled after three goals on five shots in the first. (80 points)
Game 70: Vs. San Jose Sharks
- Jets Lose: 2-0: The Jets get 44 shots, but Antti Niemi shuts them all down while Joe Thornton scores twice for the Sharks. (80 points)
Game 71: Vs. St. Louis Blues
- Jets Lose: 4-0: Back-to-back shutouts aren’t exactly what the Jets need right now. Brian Elliot stops all 19 Jets shots. (80 points)
Game 72: Vs. Washington Capitals
- Jets Win: 2-1: After three straight losses, the Jets get a much-needed win thanks to two first-period goals. (82 points)
Game 73: @ Edmonton Oilers
- Jets Win: 5-3: A big win against a team they should beat. Drew Stafford scores twice for Winnipeg. (84 points)
Game 74: @ Vancouver Canucks
- Jets Win: 3-1: Three straight wins after three straight losses. Winnipeg get great goaltending from Hutch to pick up two big points. (86 points)
Game 75: Vs. Montreal Canadiens
- Jets Lose: 2-1 (SO): Only solace in this is that the Jets at least get a point for the fourth straight game. (87 points).
Game 76: Vs. Chicago Blackhawks
- Jets Lose: 4-3 (OT): The point streak hits five, but the missed points could be huge. Ladd scores once and tallies two assists. (88 points)
Game 77: Vs. New York Rangers
- Jets Lose: 5-1: Third straight game against a Stanley Cup contender equals a third straight loss. Pavelec gives up five goals on 27 shots. (88 points)
Game 78: Vs. Vancouver Canucks
- Jets Win: 3-0: Hutch stops 23 shots for the Jets, who get a crucial two points to stay in the race. (90 points)
Game 79: @ Minnesota Wild
- Jets Win: 4-1: Winnipeg gets arguably the biggest win of this stretch against a team they are neck and neck with. (92 points)
Game 80: @ St. Louis Blues
- Jets Lose: 8-0: Let’s just forget this one. (92 points)
Game 81: @ Colorado Avalanche
- Jets Win: 3-2 (SO): Shootouts are terrible, but the Jets win this one thanks to Blake Wheeler. (94 points)
Game 82: Vs. Calgary Flames
- Jets Win: 6-4: The Jets end the season with back-to-back wins, and points in three straight games. Was it enough to get into the playoffs? (96 points)
Winnipeg Jets: 41 – 27 – 14 (96 points)
Playoffs? With 96 points, the Jets weren’t able to grab one of the top three spots in the central. However, the team held on to take the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Minnesota ultimately ended up in the final playoff spot, according to the crystal ball.
So be happy Jets fans, the magic crystal ball say the team is getting into the playoffs this year! Congratulations!