Winnipeg has problems, but isn’t panicking yet

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If the playoffs started today, the Jets would be treating Winnipeg to its first playoff series since 1996. Who knows if that will be the reality when the season actually does end on April 11th though.

Since the All-Star break, Winnipeg has dropped four straight and has allowed five goals in each of those contests. Eight of those 20 markers have been the result of failed penalty kills and that’s despite the fact that, unlike earlier this season, Winnipeg’s defense is relatively healthy.

As bad as they’ve looked recently though, the Jets have to put their recent struggles into context.

“You’ve had long stretches of quality hockey in your memory bank, it doesn’t feel like it right now, but there’s a template that we can get back to,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said, per the team’s website.

Maurice felt that the Jets were slow with the puck in their loss to Calgary tonight, but at the same time he thought they were good against Dallas despite the Stars’ 5-2 edge on Saturday.

“I don’t think (frustrating describes) the overall situation,” Winnipeg forward Bryan Little remarked in his postgame press conference. “No one’s hitting the panic button yet. There’s lots of hockey left in the season.”

Little added that things would only get worse if the Jets went into panic mode, so it should help that doing so would be premature anyways. The Jets’ playoff spot is far from secure given that their six-point cushion over Los Angeles in the battle for a Wild Card spot is mitigated by the fact that the Kings have played in three fewer contests, but it’s not as if Winnipeg has dug itself into a serious hole.

Winnipeg will have a chance to rebound against Vancouver on Tuesday, which trails the Jets in the Wild Card race by three points, but has played in four less games. A victory would do a lot to right the Jets, but a loss would make their situation look meaningfully more serious.