After dropping three in a row on the road, the Winnipeg Jets have gotten hot back on home ice.
The team have won three straight, with wins against Philadelphia, Buffalo and Florida. And with two more to go at home, the Jets are staying tight in the race for the Southeast.
After surrendering the Southeast lead to the Washington Capitals last week, the Jets didn’t seem to have much motivation to stay in the race. But a five game home stand at this point in the season is exactly what the Jets needed; Winnipeg fans have come in full force to the MTS Centre this season despite the Jets having a mediocre home record this season.
The Jets are sporting a 10-9-0 record at home, getting back to .500 Tuesday of this week with a 4-1 victory of Buffalo.
With just 7 games remaining in the season for the Jets, 5 of which are in Winnipeg, these games are huge to help the Jets take the Southeast division.
Finding Their Stride
The Jets went into Winnipeg limping after three straight loses but a struggling Philadelphia Flyers were exactly what the team needed to get their own stride back. In a game where both teams were on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, it was a test of will for the Jets. Philadelphia has been fighting really all season to get in the playoff picture with no luck and the Jets had just lost their lead in the Southeast.
After giving up the first goal of the game, Ondrej Pavelec stopped every shot he faced after, turning aside 30 of 31 shots. The penalty kill for the Jets had a solid showing that night too killing off all 3 power play attempts by the Flyers, who are number 2 in the league currently in power play percentage. The Jets were able to score 4 unanswered goals, all in the second period, to give the team their first victory since March 26.
Riding high on the 4-1 victory, Winnipeg did the exact same thing Tuesday night against Buffalo as it did against the Flyers. Winning 4-1 again, 3 for 3 on the penalty kill and Pavelec turned all but one of the 30 shots he faced. The Jets are riding high flying on the three game win streak.
Continuing the Pressure
With the Florida Panthers coming to Winnipeg, a Southeast division rival, the Jets didn’t let up on the pedal from the previous two games. After exchanging goals in less than half a period, the score was tied at 2, then the Jets started to take things over.
At the 12:42 mark in the first, Andrew Ladd buried this beauty from Bryan Little to give the Jets the lead and they never looked back.
The Jets put in another 3 goals in the 2nd period to extend the lead by a score of 6 to 2.
With the three goal outburst in the 2nd period, it brought the Jets total to 47 goals in the 2nd period, good for best in the NHL this season.
The Jets would win the game by the score of 7-2
Despite the crushing victory over the Panthers, the Jets remained 2 points behind the Washington Capitals in the division, with Washington having a game in hand.
Both teams will meet each other one more time April 23rd but Winnipeg will face two additional division opponents before their game against Washington that day. With both games before Washington at home, the odds of Winnipeg having small edge in the Southeast are very likely.
Pavelec On Fire
Entering the 5 game home stand Pavelec was stumbling into it. But he felt right at home back in Winnipeg.
During their three game home stand Pavelec has started all three and has allowed a total of only 4 goals from all three games. Pavelec is showing a 1.33 GAA during the three game win streak at home and has no plans to slow down.
The goaltender made his seventh straight start against Florida and with his hot streak has to be expected to start next Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
Down to the Wire
With 6 games remaining in the season for the Winnipeg Jets, the season is coming down to the wire and the Jets are looking for their first and last Southeast title before moving to the West next season.
Three of the remaining games are against Southeast division rivals, including a match up against the Washington Capitals in the Capital on the 23rd of this month.