Push for the Playoffs: Jets playing playoff hockey rest of the way

Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2019-20 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

Even though the playoffs don’t start until April, the Winnipeg Jets are going to be playing postseason hockey starting immediately.

As of right now, the Jets are right outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference. They’re tied for a Wild Card spot with the Nashville Predators, but the Preds have three games in hand.

“I love it. Playoff hockey’s awesome, and that’s what we’re playing from here on out,” Jets forward Logan Shaw told the Winnipeg Free Press after Saturday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers. “To be in a game like that at this time of year, it’s pretty awesome. That’s what you play for.”

The Jets are also two points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the first Wild Card spot, but again, they’ve played two more games than Vancouver.

The good news for them, is that they’ll play their next three games at home and five of their next eight. The three games they’ll play away from the MTS Center during that stretch will come against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, who are all currently ahead of the Jets and in a playoff spot.

The Jets have very little margin for error over the course of the next month. If they want to make up the ground necessary, they can’t give points away like they did on Saturday night when they blew a 2-1 lead.

There’s still a lot work that needs to be done, but head coach Paul Maurice has done an impressive job getting this group within striking distance of a playoff spot. You can’t count them out just yet.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Bruins vs. Blue Jackets
Capitals vs. Islanders
Lightning vs. Maple Leafs
Flyers vs. Penguins

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Blues vs. Predators
Golden Knights vs. Canucks
Avalanche vs. Stars
Oilers vs. Flamess

TODAY’S GAMES WITH PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
Avalanche at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET
Oilers at Predators, 8 p.m. ET

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (Via Sports Club Stats)
Bruins – 100 percent
Lightning – 100 percent
Capitals – 99.9 percent
Flyers – 98.5 percent
Penguins – 94.8 percent
Maple Leafs – 91.5 percent
Islanders – 80.7 percent
Hurricanes – 59.3 percent
Rangers – 30.3 percent
Blue Jackets – 27.4 percent
Panthers – 16.9 percent
Canadiens – 0.6 percent
Sabres – 0.3 percent
Devils – 0 percent
Senators – 0 percent
Red Wings – Out

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES
Blues – 100 percent
Avalanche – 100 percent
Stars – 99.7 percent
Golden Knights – 95.9 percent
Oilers – 91.9 percent
Canucks – 82.4 percent
Flames – 61.4 perent
Predators – 55 percent
Wild – 44.5 percent
Coyotes – 36.6 percent
Jets – 26.3 percent
Blackhawks – 7.2 percent
Sharks – 0 percent
Ducks – 0 percent
Kings – 0 percent

THE DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE
Red Wings – 18.5 percent
Kings – 13.5 percent
Senators – 11. 5 percent
Ducks – 9.5 percent
Senators – 8.5 percent*
Devils – 7.5 percent
Blackhawks – 6.5 percent
Sabres – 6 percent
Canadiens – 5 percent
Devils – 3.5 percent**
Jets – 3 percent
Wild – 2.5 percent
Panthers – 2 percent
Rangers – 1.5 percent
Blue Jackets – 1 percent
(* SJ’s 2020 first-round pick owned by OTT)
(** ARZ’s lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick owned by NJ. If top three, moves to 2021)

ART ROSS RACE
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 102 points
David Pastrnak, Bruins – 91 points
Artemi Panarin, Rangers – 90 points
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 89 points
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche – 85 points

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
David Pastrnak, Bruins – 47 goals
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 45 goals
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 45 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 39 goals
Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes – 36 goals

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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