The Winnipeg Jets haven’t been terrible this season, but in the Western Conference mediocrity is a sin.
With a 14-14-5 record, they are eight points shy of the Phoenix Coyotes and the final Wild Card spot despite having played in two extra games. Of course, more than just the Coyotes stand in the way of Winnipeg’s first postseason berth since the franchise relocated from Atlanta.
For example, the Dallas Stars currently match the Jets in points, but have played in three fewer contests. The two squads will face off this afternoon. Even in mid-December, these are two badly needed points for both squads as making up significant ground in the second half will be a daunting task.
“It’s pretty simple for us — we play with some urgency and get the win,” goaltender Ondrej Pavelec told the Winnipeg Sun. “Because if not, it can be too late in January.”
If nothing else, a win would prevent the Jets from suffering a three-game sweep at home. They did push the Colorado Avalanche to a shootout on Thursday, but afterwards a frustrated coach Claude Noel said that he doesn’t “deal in moral victories.”
Perhaps the Jets will respond with an actual win.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”