The Winnipeg Jets have climbed the rankings, not only in the Central Division but in the entire NHL. Here are some reasons their success is here to stay.
The Central Division hasn’t been as difficult as it once was because certain teams have become less competitive. Most notably, the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild got off to very slow starts. The Winnipeg Jets have taken advantage of this, as they currently sit in second place, trailing the St. Louis Blues by just one point (though the Jets have played two fewer games).
They’ve played consistent hockey, for the most part. During their most recent stretch, the Jets have struggled a little bit. Understandable, especially with Mark Scheifele’s injury. But it hasn’t kept them out of a playoff spot. They are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games entering Jan. 5, which is good for a .600 point percentage.
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Overall, the way the Jets have been playing is nothing short of great. There have been rough patches, but they have a lot of things going for them. The first thing, previously mentioned, is a lack of solid competition. Outside of the Blues and Nashville Predators, they don’t have many teams to worry about keeping up with. Sure, the Dallas Stars and Wild aren’t too far behind. But they’re both not as well balanced as the Jets.
However, more specific to the Jets as an organization, they deserve a lot of credit for dealing with injuries as well as they have. Scheifele, top defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, underrated defenseman Toby Enstrom, and winger Brandon Tanev are all examples of players this team has had to cope without. Yet, they’ve managed to get points in seven of their last 10 games.
The Jets team are fourth in the league in goals for. Eight of their players are averaging over 0.50 points per game, proving they don’t rely on only one player to make their team great. But at the same time, the Jets have elite talent, like Scheifele and Patrik Laine. Those are two important ingredients in any Stanley Cup champion’s recipe.
Two of their next five games will be played against divisional opponents (Blackhawks and Wild). How they perform in those contests will definitely make or break how this team views themselves. The key for them will be to continue spreading out the time on ice for each player and drive hard to the net, considering their offense is better than their defense. If they do these things and keep up the good work, the NHL can expect to make a spot for them in the postseason.