The Winnipeg Jets are quickly losing ground in the standings, which could end up being a problem for the Edmonton Oilers, especially considering the way things have gone so far this season.
It wasn’t very long ago that the Jets and Oilers were in a dog fight battling for second place in the North Division, while still within an arms reach of the Toronto Maple Leafs for first. However, things have changed in a major way since. The Oilers now find themselves seven points ahead of the Jets, yet trail the Maple Leafs by eight. While Edmonton does have some games in hand, it is likely both they and the Leafs will finish the season in the spots they currently occupy. The Jets on the other hand may soon be passed by the Montreal Canadiens, something that no one would have thought possible just a few short weeks ago.
The reason the Habs have closed in on the Jets isn’t so much due to their play, as they have been pretty average as of late. Instead, it has to do with the fact Winnipeg is in a major funk, having won just two of their last 10 games. They have failed to pick up a single point since April 15, a game in which they beat the Mpale Leafs 5-2.
The Jets are in serious jeopardy of falling back to fourth in the North Division as they are now tied with the Canadiens with 57 points apiece, while both having played 51 games. The Jets do hold the tiebreaker as they have three more regulation wins, but given how they have played as of late that may not matter.
Problematic For Edmonton
While this may not seem like a big deal for the Oilers given that they appear to have second locked up, it could cause for some problems in the postseason. If the playoffs were to start today, they would be facing off against the Jets. This would be a great scenario for Edmonton, given that they have dominated Winnipeg this season. Not only have they gone 7-2 against them, but they have also outscored them 34-22.
Montreal, on the other hand, has not been as easy of a matchup, in fact, far from it. In seven games against the Habs to this point, the Oilers have a record of just 2-4-1. For whatever reason, Edmonton can’t get things going offensively against them, having scored just 14 goals while allowing 20 in those seven contests.
While Edmonton has certainly had the better season, a first-round matchup against the Habs is far from ideal given their struggles against them. They have been able to contain the Oilers two most dangerous forwards in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, limiting them to just 11 total points in a combined 14 games.
Hoping For Winnipeg
Hopefully for the Oilers sake, the Jets are able to stop this slide and remain in third place. While they are a good team and certainly aren’t a guaranteed out in the playoffs, their lack of success against Edmonton would not bode well for them in a first-round matchup. The same could be said the other way around if the Canadiens are able to get into that third spot.
Regardless, if the Oilers want to go on a run this year, which many think they are capable of doing, they will have to beat out some good teams. Still, the Habs have caused fits for them this season, and if they are able to avoid playing them in the postseason, especially in the first round, that would be the much preferred scenario. It will be fascinating to watch these final few weeks of the season and see if Winnipeg is able to rebound from their tough stretch.
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