Can the Jets make the Playoffs?

Photo: winnipegjets.com

After a disappointing loss to the Montreal Canadiens the Winnipeg Jets sit in 10th place with 54 points – 5 points back of Florida for the Southeast lead and 3rd place, or 6 points back of Toronto and the 8th seed. The reality is sinking in that only one team from the southeast will likely make the post season. And if a second team does it’ll be a last day sneak in.

From day one the Jets have set the target of 96 points which they believed would result in a post season birth. The simple math tells us for the Jets to reach that goal they need to win three out of every four games from now on out. They have 28 games left and can only drop 14 points. More than seven loses and that goal will not be reached.

But is 96 points the magic number? Lets take a moment to examine what it will take for the Jets to reach the playoffs this season.

Florida Panthers

The Panthers are first overall in the Southeast, they have 59 points with 31 games remaining. They play the Jets two more times, the Capitals three times and they played their last game against the Lightning yesterday. They play 16 games against teams that currently are outside of the playoffs, 23 games against Eastern Conference teams and 9 of those against the Southeast division.

They have a 1 point lead over Washington, 5 points over Winnipeg and 8 points up on Tampa Bay. They’ve played 1 less game than Washington, 3 less than Winnipeg and on par with Tampa Bay.

Predicting the rest of their games we estimate they will be 13-11-7 and finish with 92 points.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are second overall in the Southeast. They have 57 points with 30 games remaining. They play the Jets three more times, the Panthers three times and the Lightning two times. They play 13 games against teams that currently are outside of the playoffs, 26 games against Eastern Conference teams and 11 of those against the Southeast division.

They trail Florida by 1 point and lead Winnipeg by 3 points and Tampa Bay by 6 points. They’ve played 1 more game than Washington and Florida and 2 less than Winnipeg.

Predicting the rest of their games we estimate they will be 14-11-4 and finish with 90 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are in a similar situation with the Jets but with three games in hand, could easily be ahead of the Jets right now. They are fourth overall in the Southeast with 51 points and 31 games remaining. They play the Jets three more times, the Capitals two times and they played their last game against the Panthers yesterday. They play 14 games against teams that currently are outside of the playoffs, 26 games against Eastern Conference teams and 8 of those against the Southeast division.

They trail Florida by 8 points, Washington by 7 points and Winnipeg by 3 points. They’ve played 1 less game than Washington, 3 less than Winnipeg and on par with Florida.

Predicting the rest of their games we estimate they will be 13-13-3 and finish with 80 points.

Winnipeg Jets

That brings us to the Winnipeg Jets, and while 96 points would likely be the target to squeak into 8th place, thanks to a weak Southeast we feel that 93 points will win them the division. That doesn’t give them much wiggle room but it does give them a bit more of a realistic chance than 96 points.

The Jets are third overall in the Southeast, they have 53 points with 28 games remaining. They play the Panthers two more times, the Capitals three times and they play the Lighting three more times as well. They play 14 games against teams that currently are outside of the playoffs, 22 games against Eastern Conference teams and 10 of those against the Southeast division.

They trail Florida by 5 points, Washington by 4 points and are ahead of Tampa Bay by 3 points. They’ve played 2 more games than Washington, 3 more than Tampa Bay and Florida.

For the Jets to make the playoffs we predict they will need a record of 18-6-3 for 39 more points giving them a total of 93. Is it doable? Quite possibly, but for the most part as we mentioned at the start, the Jets will have to win 3 out of every 4 games and doing that is much less of a daunting task than trying to lose only 6 or 7 games in regulation from here on out.

A Closer Look

So taking a closer look at what lies ahead for Winnipeg, we’ll see how tough it will be for them to make the playoffs. No challenge might be harder for them than scoring goals. Since the All Star break they’ve managed only 3 goals in regulation over four games. The second challenge they’ll need to overcome is finding a way to win the second game of the back-to-back. They are 0-8 currently with three more back-to-backs in March.

We’d have to assume those will be losses (Boston, Calgary, Tampa Bay) which means that they will only be able to lose another 3-4 games in regulation. We’ve alloted for those losses to come in overtime/shootout losses to Washington, Pittsburgh and Washington again, with regulation loses to come against Vancouver, Nashville and New York Rangers.

That does mean the Jets will have to find a way to beat the Penguins and Wild on the road while all but running the table at home (previously noted losses against Bruins and Rangers are the only two home losses allowed) to make the post season. The Jets will need to go 14-2-0 at home giving them a 29-10-2 record at home on the season.

They will need to string together win streaks of 7, 4 and 3 games unless they can find a way to win a back to back game or beat the Rangers. At the same time they can not lose more than two games in a row from here on out.

All this seems pretty daunting – and it is – but it’s not unachievable. And what the players need to focus on is winning one game at a time and winning three out of four games. When you focus on doing that, the playoffs aren’t that far fetched.

At the end of the day though, the Jets will be hard pressed to make the post season. You can see the [thkBC height="530" width="850" anchortext=" complete predictions for the Jets, Panthers, Capitals and Lightning" title="Complete predictions for the Jets, Panthers, Capitals and Lightning" type="inline" inline_id="predictions"] for the remaining games.

Florida Panthers

Tue Feb 7, 2012 Panthers Capitals SOL
Thu Feb 9, 2012 Kings Panthers L
Sat Feb 11, 2012 Panthers Devils L
Sun Feb 12, 2012 Panthers Islanders SOL
Wed Feb 15, 2012 Senators Panthers W
Fri Feb 17, 2012 Capitals Panthers W
Sun Feb 19, 2012 Ducks Panthers W
Thu Feb 23, 2012 Wild Panthers L
Sat Feb 25, 2012 Panthers Hurricanes SOL
Sun Feb 26, 2012 Canadiens Panthers W
Tue Feb 28, 2012 Panthers Maple Leafs W
Thu Mar 1, 2012 Panthers Jets SOL
Sat Mar 3, 2012 Predators Panthers L
Sun Mar 4, 2012 Senators Panthers W
Thu Mar 8, 2012 Panthers Flyers L
Fri Mar 9, 2012 Panthers Penguins L
Sun Mar 11, 2012 Hurricanes Panthers W
Tue Mar 13, 2012 Maple Leafs Panthers SOL
Thu Mar 15, 2012 Bruins Panthers L
Sat Mar 17, 2012 Sabres Panthers W
Tue Mar 20, 2012 Panthers Flyers L
Wed Mar 21, 2012 Panthers Hurricanes W
Fri Mar 23, 2012 Oilers Panthers W
Sun Mar 25, 2012 Islanders Panthers W
Tue Mar 27, 2012 Panthers Canadiens SOL
Thu Mar 29, 2012 Panthers Wild L
Fri Mar 30, 2012 Panthers Blue Jackets W
Sun Apr 1, 2012 Panthers Red Wings L
Tue Apr 3, 2012 Jets Panthers SOL
Thu Apr 5, 2012 Panthers Capitals L
Sat Apr 7, 2012 Hurricanes Panthers W
LOSES 11
WINS 13
OT/SOL 7
POINTS 33
Current 59
Total 92

Washington Capitals

Tue Feb 7, 2012 Panthers Capitals W
Thu Feb 9, 2012 Jets Capitals W
Sun Feb 12, 2012 Capitals Rangers L
Mon Feb 13, 2012 Sharks Capitals W
Fri Feb 17, 2012 Capitals Panthers L
Sat Feb 18, 2012 Capitals Lightning W
Mon Feb 20, 2012 Capitals Hurricanes W
Wed Feb 22, 2012 Capitals Senators L
Fri Feb 24, 2012 Canadiens Capitals W
Sat Feb 25, 2012 Capitals Maple Leafs W
Tue Feb 28, 2012 Islanders Capitals W
Fri Mar 2, 2012 Devils Capitals W
Sun Mar 4, 2012 Flyers Capitals L
Tue Mar 6, 2012 Hurricanes Capitals W
Thu Mar 8, 2012 Lightning Capitals SOL
Sat Mar 10, 2012 Capitals Bruins L
Sun Mar 11, 2012 Maple Leafs Capitals W
Tue Mar 13, 2012 Capitals Islanders SOL
Fri Mar 16, 2012 Capitals Jets SOL
Sun Mar 18, 2012 Capitals Blackhawks L
Mon Mar 19, 2012 Capitals Red Wings L
Thu Mar 22, 2012 Capitals Flyers SOL
Fri Mar 23, 2012 Jets Capitals W
Sun Mar 25, 2012 Wild Capitals W
Tue Mar 27, 2012 Sabres Capitals L
Thu Mar 29, 2012 Capitals Bruins L
Sat Mar 31, 2012 Canadiens Capitals W
Mon Apr 2, 2012 Capitals Lightning L
Thu Apr 5, 2012 Panthers Capitals W
Sat Apr 7, 2012 Capitals Rangers L
LOSES 11
WINS 14
OT/SOL 4
POINTS 32
Current 58
Total 90

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tue Feb 7, 2012 Kings Lightning W
Thu Feb 9, 2012 Lightning Rangers L
Sat Feb 11, 2012 Lightning Sabres W
Sun Feb 12, 2012 Lightning Penguins SOL
Tue Feb 14, 2012 Senators Lightning W
Thu Feb 16, 2012 Sharks Lightning L
Sat Feb 18, 2012 Capitals Lightning L
Tue Feb 21, 2012 Ducks Lightning W
Thu Feb 23, 2012 Lightning Jets L
Sat Feb 25, 2012 Lightning Penguins L
Sun Feb 26, 2012 Lightning Devils W
Tue Feb 28, 2012 Canadiens Lightning W
Fri Mar 2, 2012 Rangers Lightning L
Sat Mar 3, 2012 Lightning Hurricanes SOL
Tue Mar 6, 2012 Senators Lightning W
Thu Mar 8, 2012 Lightning Capitals W
Sat Mar 10, 2012 Hurricanes Lightning W
Tue Mar 13, 2012 Bruins Lightning L
Thu Mar 15, 2012 Maple Leafs Lightning L
Sat Mar 17, 2012 Blues Lightning L
Mon Mar 19, 2012 Sabres Lightning W
Thu Mar 22, 2012 Oilers Lightning W
Sat Mar 24, 2012 Islanders Lightning SOL
Mon Mar 26, 2012 Lightning Flyers L
Tue Mar 27, 2012 Lightning Bruins L
Thu Mar 29, 2012 Lightning Devils W
Sat Mar 31, 2012 Jets Lightning W
Mon Apr 2, 2012 Capitals Lightning W
Wed Apr 4, 2012 Lightning Canadiens L
Thu Apr 5, 2012 Lightning Maple Leafs L
Sat Apr 7, 2012 Lightning Jets L
LOSES 13
WINS 13
OT/SOL 3
POINTS 29
Current 51
Total 80

Winnipeg Jets

Tue, 7 Feb 2012 Maple Leafs Jets W
Thu, 9 Feb 2012 Jets Capitals SOL
Sat, 11 Feb 2012 Jets Penguins SOL
Tue, 14 Feb 2012 Islanders Jets W
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 Jets Wild W
Fri, 17 Feb 2012 Bruins Jets L
Sun, 19 Feb 2012 Avalanche Jets W
Tue, 21 Feb 2012 Flyers Jets W
Thu, 23 Feb 2012 Lightning Jets W
Sat, 25 Feb 2012 Blues Jets W
Mon, 27 Feb 2012 Oilers Jets W
Thu, 1 Mar 2012 Panthers Jets W
Mon, 5 Mar 2012 Sabres Jets W
Thu, 8 Mar 2012 Jets Canucks L
Fri, 9 Mar 2012 Jets Flames L
Wed, 14 Mar 2012 Stars Jets W
Fri, 16 Mar 2012 Capitals Jets W
Sun, 18 Mar 2012 Hurricanes Jets W
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 Jets Penguins W
Fri, 23 Mar 2012 Jets Capitals SOL
Sat, 24 Mar 2012 Jets Predators L
Mon, 26 Mar 2012 Senators Jets W
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 Rangers Jets L
Fri, 30 Mar 2012 Jets Hurricanes W
Sat, 31 Mar 2012 Jets Lightning L
Tue, 3 Apr 2012 Jets Panthers W
Thu, 5 Apr 2012 Jets Islanders W
Sat, 7 Apr 2012 Lightning Jets W
LOSES 6
WINS 18
OT/SOL 3
POINTS 39
Current 54
Total 93

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.