The Winnipeg Jets had a rough showing with a chance to clinch a playoff spot against the Vegas Golden Knights, but three games in four nights on the West Coast is at least a little bit of an excuse.
The Winnipeg Jets finally did clinch a playoff berth, and they did so against the Nashville Predators. And they were kind enough to do it in front of the fans in Winnipeg.
Oh, and also, they now have a four point lead in the division against those Predators, and the Preds have six games remaining to the Jets’ seven.
The showing against the Golden Knights was unpleasant, especially since they were the team that eliminated the Jets from the playoffs last season. But three games in four nights on the West Coast is hard.
While the team won’t make any excuses, I will. Especially after they bounced back to dismantle Nashville. After taking 55 games to record his first shutout, Connor Hellebuyck now has two in consecutive starts.
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The unfortunate part of that Vegas bit is that Laurent Brossoit left the game with an injury, leading to the call up of Eric Comrie. It’s unclear how serious the Brossoit injury is, but it doesn’t seem too serious.
Also, he probably won’t be needed much down the stretch and (hopefully) not in the playoffs. A hell of a season for the backup, though, and a great pickup by the front office.
Honestly, we knew clinching the playoff berth was a foregone conclusion, but it’s good to see the Jets beat Nashville in their final matchup. Had Nashville won, they would be tied with the Jets for the division lead.
Now they’re four points behind. Not an insurmountable lead, but one I feel good about. Kyle Connor and Kevin Hayes led the way against Nashville offensively, with the former recording a hat trick and the latter a career-high four points.
The hat trick gives Connor 32 goals, and he’s sitting at 29 assists, both surpassing his numbers from last season. Hayes now has 10 points in 13 games with Winnipeg and appears to be fitting in beautifully.
Patrik Laine recorded an assist, but hasn’t scored since February 26. Yikes. He has seven points in that span, which isn’t horrible, but it would be really nice if Winnipeg could get him going before the playoffs.
I’m not holding my breath. But I am glad the team clinched and now can have a chance to win their division. They’re also one point behind the Sharks to secure second place, but they’re seven points behind the West-leading Calgary Flames.
I don’t see that happening, but now I’m ready for the playoffs. The Jets should be too.