Winnipeg entered the day lacking a playoff spot and preparing for a difficult three-game road trip. These are trying times for the Jets, but they did what they could tonight by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0.
While Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec had allowed at least three goals in each of his last three starts, he came up big Monday with 32 saves en route to his third shutout of the campaign. Wild defenseman Marco Scandella also played an accidental role in the Jets’ victory as the game-winning goal went off of his skate:
Blake Wheeler was credited with the goal while Drew Stafford accounted for the Jets’ other marker.
That win improves the Jets to 41-26-12 this season. That’s good enough to retake the second Wild Card seed from Los Angeles. The Kings can still maintain their hold on a playoff spot by beating Vancouver tonight, but they will be assuming the third Pacific Division seed from the idle Calgary Flames rather than pushing Winnipeg back. This loss has also put some added pressure on the Minnesota Wild, although they’re still in a strong spot in the battle for a playoff berth:
Winnipeg will travel to St. Louis and Colorado before hosting the Flames in its season finale on Saturday.
All the latest from the blue paint…
You can be their hero, Eddie
The Canucks had three goalies on the ice for this morning’s optional skate — Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom and Eddie Lack — but it’ll be the latter who’ll get the start tonight in a crucial tilt versus Los Angeles.
Lack hasn’t exactly been a hero over his last five games, going 2-2-1 with a .903 save percentage, numbers that have been skewed by tough outings in Winnipeg (five goals on 36 shots) and Nashville (four goals on 38). It’s also worth noting Lack’s seen an awful lot of rubber lately; he’s faced an average of 35.2 shots per game over his last five, including 40 in a overtime loss to Dallas last week.
With Miller getting closer to a return to game action, tonight’s tilt will prove huge for Lack’s future as Vancouver’s No. 1. Tonight’s tilt will also prove huge for Western Conference playoff jockeying, as the Kings head into tonight’s action just three points back of Vancouver in the Pacific, and one back of Calgary.
Speaking of the Kings, no official word yet on who’ll start, but it’s expected to be Jonathan Quick.
‘Canes at Sabres: Cam Ward vs. Anders Lindback
Blue Jackets at Rangers: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Jets at Wild: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Devan Dubnyk (“DUUUBS” — Halford.)
Stars at Sharks: (No Dallas starter yet) vs. Alex Stalock
The Winnipeg Jets begin a trying three-game road trip on Monday, so Toby Enstrom is traveling with the team in hopes of returning from an upper-body injury.
The Winnipeg Sun points out that Enstrom, 30, is day-to-day with what may have been a shoulder issue suffered on Saturday.
With Dustin Byfuglien out three more games thanks to his suspension, the Jets’ possibly elite defense may be without two key cogs if Enstrom cannot play during this trip. Take a look at the Jets’ final four games:
Today: at Minnesota
Tuesday: at St. Louis
Thursday: at Colorado
Saturday: vs. Calgary
As you can see, Enstrom does not get a ton of time to heal up considering the upcoming back-to-back set. Paul Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun that the oft-injured blueliner came back strong from his last issue, though.
“(Enstrom) came back better than he left, so we’ll bring him and there’s a chance he’ll play on the road trip,” Maurice said on Sunday. “We gotta see how he is tomorrow before we make any decisions on tomorrow night’s game.”
In a fierce West bubble battle, the Jets can use all the help they can get.