12/03/20 Playoff Picture
There is no doubt that wins by both Washington and Buffalo on Monday night did some damage to the Winnipeg Jets' playoff picture, but tonight presents the best opportunity possible to improve that outlook. At this time of year, we spend immeasurable time analyzing all the potential outcomes, studying the match-ups, and hoping for help from other teams, but the only true way to secure a spot in the post-season is by winning!
The Jets will have an opportunity to improve their outlook tonight when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at Consol Energy Center. After Monday night, Winnipeg has a game in hand on their fellow playoff racers, so this is the time to take advantage.
Buffalo Sabres 7, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Tampa Bay has really suffered from the injury bug lately, and it showed last night, as the Sabres walked all over the Lightning for most of the night. Jason Pominville and late-season call-up Marcus Foligno both scored two goals to pace the Sabres past the Lightning. The win vaulted the Sabres over the Jets into ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Washington Capitals 5, Detroit Red Wings 3
The Capitals jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period, which proved to be insurmountable for the struggling Red Wings. Alex Ovechkin seems to be back on his game lately, notching two goals (both on the powerplay) and two assists to lead his team over the Detroit squad. The win jumps the Capitals to 80 points on the season, four ahead of the Jets. The victory also gets the Caps within three points of the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers, who could suddenly become a major part of the playoff-race conversation.
TONIGHT'S KEY MATCH-UPS:
Winnipeg Jets at Pittsurgh Penguins (6:00 PM, TSN Jets)
In reality, there is no match-up more key to the Jets playoff hopes than this one (or, whichever game is next on the Jets' schedule). The Penguins have been red-hot lately, which has only been buoyed by the return of Sidney Crosby to the Pens' lineup. This game will mark Crosby's first home game since stepping back into the lineup, and will certainly be an emotional affair for the Pittsburgh squad.
The Jets put together a couple of outstanding wins at home last week against Dallas and Washington before faltering on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. This is the game in hand that the Jets hold over the Capitals and Sabres, and represents two critical points that are needed to keep the playoff hopes alive.
Ideal Jets outcome: Jets Win!
Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers (6:00 PM)
If the Florida Panthers go into enough of a slide at the end of the season, we could see a dogfight for the Southeast Division lead down the stretch between the Panthers, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. Currently Florida is holding down first spot in the division with 83 points, but Washington is not far behind with 80, while Winnipeg remains in the picture, currently with 76. A slide seems unlikely at the moment, with Florida playing some great hockey as of late, winning their last four games.
Ideal Jets outcome: Flyers Win
- New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs (6:00 PM)
- Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets (6:00 PM)
- New Jersey Devils at Ottawa Senators (6:30 PM)
- Edmonton Oilers at Nashville Predators (7:00 PM)
- Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars (7:00 PM, TSN2)
- Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche (8:00 PM)
- San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (9:30 PM, TSN2)