The Winnipeg Jets dropped a tough game to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night but still find themselves in the heat of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Going into Friday night’s action, the Jets find themselves in ninth place with 72 points.
Technically they are tied with the Washington Capitals, but with more regulation wins, the Capitals would win the tie breaker.
Certainly, making the playoffs would be a great story and icing on the cake to a very satisfying NHL season in Winnipeg. But would just making it be the only story?
Could they make some noise in the playoffs? Could they upset someone seeded higher than them?
Here are four reasons why the Winnipeg Jets could have some playoff success.
Despite having a young roster, the Jets actually have guys with some decent playoff experience. Most notably, their captain Andrew Ladd has appeared in 53 playoff games in his career and has been part of two Stanley Cup Champions.
Dustin Byfuglien has played in 39 playoff games and also has a ring. Even Tanner Glass and Kyle Wellwood have made deep playoff runs.
Having this experience on the roster will help the young guys stay grounded and not be paralyzed by the moment.
Getting your goaltender hot can win you a playoff series against a superior opponent. It has happened over and over again in the history of the NHL. A good goalie can steal games and even a series.
Pavelec has had a good year in Winnipeg and has shown at times that he can steal games. He’s had to at times this season in Winnipeg, as the Jets have had some mental lapses covering their own end.
If Pavelec gets hot, don’t be surprised if he wins a series for Winnipeg.
Having a good power play can also make you dangerous in the playoffs. The Jets have excelled with the man advantage this season, and have the ninth best power play in the NHL at 19.3 percent, which is better than a power-house team such as the Boston Bruins.
If the Jets can draw penalties, and they have some fast explosive players who can do that, and capitalize, they will be a tough team to defend.
If you take liberties with them, you may end up paying with the puck in your net.
It’s hard to imagine a better home rink than the one we’ve seen at the MTS Centre this year. Every game has had a playoff atmosphere and one can only wonder what an actual playoff game would sound like there.
The Jets are 21-10-4 at home and have fed off their frenzied supporters.
If they end up winning their division and claiming the third seed, they would have home ice advantage and could easily win the first round. If they are the eighth seed and can steal a game on the road, they will be a tough out with home-ice advantage.