Playoff Push #81: Jets can clinch post-season berth with win over Avs

Win and they’re in. That’s the situation the Winnipeg Jets find themselves in as a victory over the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night can secure a playoff berth.

The Jets (42-26-12) hold the second wild-card spot with 96 points — three ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who need to beat the Calgary Flames Thursday to stay in the playoff hunt.

Either way, this is really good news for the Jets.

“We can handle our own destiny right now and that’s a good feeling because we like the way we’re playing,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun.

Lines

Lines provided by DailyFaceoff.com

Winnipeg

JetsF 1.43.56 PM

The Jets’ offence has run dry over the past two games. Luckily, they’ve had Ondrej Pavelec to back them up.

Nonetheless, the line of Drew Stafford-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler has been consistent over the past 10 games, earning a combined 20 points over that span.

Captain Andrew Ladd leads the Jets in scoring with 62 points. Wheeler’s 26 goals leads the team.

JetsD 1.43.56 PM

Dustin Byfuglien will serve the fourth and final game of a four-game suspension for his cross-check to the back of the neck of New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller. Tobias Enstrom is also listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

That means Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba will once again log heavy minutes in their absence. They’ve shown they can handle the extra workload.

JetsG 1.43.56 PM

Pavelec posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time in his career after blanking the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. He’s started 11 of the past 12 games, posting a 9-2-0 record with a 1.92 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.

Colorado

Already out of the playoff race, the Avalanche (37-31-12) are just hoping to play spoiler against the Jets.

AvsF

The Avalanche will be without forward Daniel Briere, who is nursing a foot injury. Briere did not practice Wednesday and won’t be in the lineup against the Jets.

Gabriel Landeskog leads the Avs in scoring with 58 points. Jarome Iginla’s 26 goals leads the team.

AvsD

The Jets will have to keep a close watch on Tyson Barrie, who leads all Avs blue-liners with 12 goals and 52 points.

AvsG

Reto Berra will get the start in net against the Jets. Berra is 4-4-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average this season.

Predictions

Game Day Prediction: There’s a lot riding on this game. The Jets aren’t going to lead a chance to secure a playoff berth slip away. Jets 4 Avs 2.

Obvious Prediction: If the Jets can get on the scoreboard early, Pavelec will handle the rest.

Not So Obvious Prediction: In four season meetings, Bryan Little has five goals and two assists. It’ll be hard to keep him off the scoresheet tonight.

Playoff Chances

The Jets have a 93% chance of making the playoffs, according to clubsportsstats.com.

JetsPlayoffs