The Winnipeg Jets are on the outside looking in right now for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Jets won the first game of their long homestand on Saturday and now have to take advantage of a very important game for their chances on Tuesday. The Jets will host the Buffalo Sabres, who are just two points behind Winnipeg in the standings. The next two games are the biggest ones on the schedule for me, and they are two games that the Jets must win if they want to sneak into the playoffs.
The Florida Panthers visit Winnipeg on Thursday, and the Panthers are the worst team in the Eastern Conference this season. Winnipeg has been sitting right around the .500 mark and must have a huge surge to end the regular season to get through a pile of teams all fighting within a few points of the final playoff spots. The Jets broke a five-game losing streak with their win on Saturday, so hopefully that will allow them to gain some confidence in what they can do especially at home.
The last four games of the regular season look to be much tougher, so Winnipeg needs to win as many of these games at home. The Jets have put a lot on the shoulders on Ondrej Pavelec, and while he has delivered most of the season, it’s time for him to step up more. Pavelec is giving up 2.82 goals per game on average, but I think an average of about two goals a game would get Winnipeg to the playoffs. This is a very important group of games for the franchise in their second year back in Winnipeg. The fans expect a playoff run, and it’s time for the team to bring one home.