That’s all the Winnipeg Jets have left to make the postseason for the first time since moving from Atlanta in 2011.
To fail now — after spending so much of the season in a playoff position — would be a major disappointment for the franchise and its passionate fans, in a city that hasn’t enjoyed NHL playoff hockey in almost two decades.
A few months ago, a spot in the postseason seemed almost inevitable. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Jets were 26-14-8 and had built an eight-point cushion in the standings.
But an up-and-down (and eventful) 13-11-4 stretch later and that cushion is now just two points, with the defending champion Kings breathing down their necks, while holding the ROW tie-breaker to boot.
If Winnipeg loses in regulation tonight at home to the Rangers, the Kings would have the opportunity to displace the Jets from a playoff position with a win Thursday against the Oilers at Staples Center.
Overall, it’s estimated the Jets will have to win at least three of their final six games to qualify. And that won’t be easy with home games against the Rangers, Canucks and Flames, plus road games in Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado.
We suppose, at the very least, the Jets are playing meaningful hockey late in the season.
“It’s why we play,” said d-man Tyler Myers, per the Free Press. “Each and every guy in the room is going to work as hard as they can to keep us in that spot.”
But the Jets and their fans want more than meaningful regular-season games.
The honeymoon is over.
They want the playoffs.