12/03/30 Playoff Picture
Tonight could be the final (official) nail in the coffin for the Winnipeg Jets playoff hopes. Currently with only five games remaining in their season, the Jets could earn a maximum of 88 points. The Sabres and Capitals both currently hold 86 points. Because of the NHL tie-break rules, this means that Buffalo needs only three points, while Washington needs only two points, to officially eliminate the Winnipeg Jets from playoff contention.
Washington Capitals 3, Boston Bruins 2 (SO)
Everything was working against the Capitals on Thursday night when they took on the Boston Bruins. Caps forward Jason Chimera was handed a game misconduct in the first period and just minutes later starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun left the game with an injury. Despite theses challenges, the Captials held a 2-1 lead late in the third period until Andrew Ference tied the game with 16 seconds remaining.
The Capitals went on to earn the shootout victory. The Washington win puts them back into a tie for eight spot in the Eastern Conference with only five games remaining, and also pushes the Jets to within two points of elimination.
TONIGHT'S KEY MATCH-UPS:
Winnipeg Jets at Carolina Hurricanes (6:00 PM, TSN Jets)
The Jets opened their season series against the Hurricanes by winning their first three match-ups of the season, but have now dropped their last two meetings. The last time the two teams met was on Sunday, March 18 when the Jets were dropped in a disappointing 4-3 loss at MTS Centre. That loss was the beginning of a late-season slide for the Jets.
With a win tonight, the Hurricanes would leap frog ahead of the Jets in the Eastern Conference standings, and at the the same time put the Washington Capitals out of reach and officially eliminate the Jets from playoff contention.
Ideal Jets Outcome: Jets Win!
Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres (6:30 PM)
The Buffalo Sabres only need three points to secure their spot above the Jets in the final Eastern Conference Standings. This means that a Jets loss, coupled with a Sabres win would give Buffalo the final edge in the standings, officially making it a two-horse race for eighth place in the Conference.
The Sabres have been outstanding lately, earning five straight wins and seven of their last ten. Pittsburgh continues to prove that they should be a favourite heading in to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ideal Jets Outcome: Penguins Win
- Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets (6:00 PM)
- Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers (6:30 PM, TSN)
- Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings (6:30 PM)
- Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames (8:00 PM)
- Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers (8:30 PM0
- Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks (9:00 PM, TSN)