With practically no room for error, the suddenly streaking Winnipeg Jets can’t afford a slip-up tonight when they host the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Jets entered the day in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points back of the eighth-place Rangers (who have one game in hand) and three points back of the Islanders (who have played the same amount of games.)
Winnipeg — with three wins in a row, and by a combined score of 15-4 — has six games left to close the gap, including what could be a huge home affair Saturday versus the Isles.
“It’s a sprint now,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler Tuesday, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “It boils down to just over a week and a half and if you’re not able to empty the tank in those six games then there’s another issue. Our team is excited about the opportunity we have. It makes it a lot more fun to be playing for something.
“The ultimate goal is making the playoffs and we’re within striking distance of that.”
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has dropped six of its last eight.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.