The Winnipeg Jets’ split of their ‘wild card week’ games versus Calgary and Nashville has allowed them to remain in control of their playoff destiny.
But because of that result, the “biggest game of the year” label that applied to those two games for Winnipeg is still in play for at least the next two — and possibly all three — of the Jets’ remaining games.
I’m reasonably confident almost every Jets fan in this city, province and beyond is well aware of how the final week of the regular season schedule unfolds as it pertains to their favourite hockey club.
So as we speak, that “X marks the spot” moment that Rick Bowness has been talking about for the last 10 days or so is 94 points.
It doesn’t matter how the Jets get there — if they add another three points, they clinch the Western Conference’s second wild card berth and then prepare for likely Vegas or Edmonton in Round 1.
Feeling magic in the air 🤩 pic.twitter.com/XjO82LtFD0
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 9, 2023
We’re only dealing in absolutes here because we don’t know what the outcome will be of the Nashville-Calgary game Monday night. But we do know with 100 per cent certainty that one of those teams will win.
So to ensure they remain above the playoff line in the event of a Flames victory, the Jets need to find a way to solve the nemesis that James Reimer and the San Jose Sharks have become.
I don’t know if all of the outside noise Winnipeg subjected themselves to 12 days ago, following the 3-0 loss in the Shark Tank, is on the players’ radar as a source of motivation, or if the frustration/anger from losing a valuable point in the dying seconds of the 3-2 overtime loss to the men in teal on March 6 also fits into that category.
Whatever ways and means the Jets used to produce Saturday’s effort against the Predators, rinse and repeat Monday night at Canada Life Centre.
A win over San Jose greatly reduces the risk of do-or-die scenarios for Winnipeg at Minnesota Tuesday night, and/or in Colorado Thursday.
Lowering the anxiety level for the paying customers will especially resonate on Fan Appreciation Night.
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