The Winnipeg Jets were sniffing the scent of playoff hockey up until the last 12 days or so. That's approximately when their current five-game losing streak began, one which has made the reality of playoffs a mere dream for yet another straight season in Winnipeg.
As it stands in the Western Conference wild-card race, the Stars have a five-point lead over the Jets for the final spot. They also have two games in hand. What makes it most difficult now is simply the fact that there isn't enough time for the Jets to rebound.
With only 15 games remaining on the Jets schedule, they'd have to win at least 13 of those games to finish with 95 points while hoping the Stars play .500 hockey the rest of the way. It's very unlikely that both cases become true.
Eight of the final 15 games are against teams ranked in the top 10 in the entire league. The Jets still have to face the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. Not to mention, they have two bouts with the Stars left.
That's a pretty rough schedule. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the focus has to be on one game at a time. The Jets will face the New York Rangers on Friday night before a showdown against the Stars on Sunday. If they lose either, you can forget about future games being meaningful.
The Jets only have themselves to blame for this disastrous stretch. Four of the five losses were on home ice. Three of those home ice losses were to the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks. Clearly, the Jets are losing very winnable games.
It seems to still be a mystery as to why this team is disappointing on home ice in front of great, loud fans.
Coincidentally, the losing streak occurred right after trade deadline day—a day in which Kevin Cheveldayoff decided to stand pat for his hockey club. It's shaping up to be yet another season where the Jets "suffer" from post-deadline blues. Or maybe getting a whiff of that playoff scent scared them off?
The unfortunate injury to Mark Scheifele didn't help the cause either, but it doesn't justify why the Jets are losing to mediocre-to-par teams.
The Jets were hitting their stride before the lengthy Olympic break. Even up until the trade deadline they were getting it done. The depressing loss to the Islanders just 16 hours prior to the trade deadline was the start of this debacle.
Playoffs at this point are improbable. Consider all the factors I pointed out before you say, "Well at least it isn't impossible."