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The Race Is On 2019: Welcome Back To The Central Thunderdome

The 2018-19 NHL regular season wraps up in about a month from now with most teams having anywhere from 15 to 17 games left on their schedule and that typically means that most fans and media will keep one eye on their hockey club, but another eye alternating between scoreboard watching and standings surveying, which of course lead to some pretty tired eyes.

At JetsNation, we’re here to help you keep tabs of everything by putting together a little bit of a division recap of sorts to help you keep track of the Jets’ closest division rivals and just what they’re up to. We’ll run these updates twice a week – Tuesday and Friday mornings – and for now we’ll keep the focus strictly to the Central division teams realistically in the playoff hunt (sorry Chicago) and remove or even add teams from the Pacific as needed.

The Standings

The Teams

Winnipeg Jets

Last Game: Win @ Columbus 5-3 (03/03)
Next Game: @ Tampa Bay – March 5
Games Remaining:

7 Home: SJS, BOS, CGY, NSH, DAL, NYI, MTL
10 Road: TBL, CAR, WSH, LAK, ANA, VGK, CHI, MIN, COL, ARI
Linked Up: Beaulieu’s finally breaking out (Winnipeg Free Press)

Beaulieu clearly had some pedigree given that Montreal selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft after he put together two straight seasons of 45 points in the QMJHL. But he never quite found his footing with the Canadiens, moving on after 225 NHL games spread over five seasons. He played another 89 games with the Sabres over the past two years and now makes his third stop in Winnipeg.


Nashville Predators

Last Game: SO Win Vs Minnesota 3-2 (03/03)
Next Game: Vs Minnesota – March 5
Games Remaining:

7 Home: MIN, CAR, TOR, PIT, CBJ, VAN, CHI
7 Road: ANA, LAK, SJS, WPG, MIN, PIT, BUF
Linked Up: Predators’ Power Play: Good Enough for Cup Run? (The Hockey Writers)

But there’s one area that has been problematic for the team all season: the power play. That won’t come as a shock to Predators fans who’ve watched this team struggle on the man advantage all season. The Predators are a great five-on-five team, yet they have failed to be consistently effective on the power play, currently sitting 30th in the league.


St. Louis Blues

Last Game: Loss vs Dallas 4-1 (03/02)
Next Game: @ Anaheim – March 6
Games Remaining:

8 Home: ARI, EDM, DET, TBL, VGK, COL, PHI, VAN
9 Road: ANA, LAK, SJS, OTT, PIT, BUF, NYR, NJD, CHI
Linked Up: St. Louis Blues Chemistry Woes Have Returned Once More (Bleedin’ Blue)

St. Louis is also allowing too many grade-A chances against. In their back-to-back losses to Carolina and Dallas, the Blues outshot each opponent and held them to relatively low shot counts. Even so, the shots they did allow were in prime real estate and difficult for the goalies to stop.


Dallas Stars

Last Game: Win @ St. Louis 4-1 (03/02)
Next Game: Vs NY Rangers – March 5
Games Remaining:

10 Home: NYR, COL, CHI, VGK, VAN, FLA, COL, PIT, PHI, MIN
7 Road: BUF, MIN, WPG, CGY, EDM, VAN, CHI
Linked Up: Dallas Stars Win Three Of Four Games During Important Road Trip (Blackout Dallas)

The fact that the Stars were able to find success in games on the road against strong teams without their resilient captain to lead the way proves the steps they’ve taken toward being the team they truly desire to be.


Minnesota Wild

Last Game: SO Loss Vs Nashville 3-2 (03/03)
Next Game: @ Nashville – March 5
Games Remaining:

8 Home: SJS, DAL, NYR, NYI, COL, NSH, WPG, BOS
8 Road: NSH, TBL, FLA, WSH, CAR, VGK, ARI, DAL
Linked Up: Resurgent Minnesota Wild Fuel Playoff Hopes After Big Moves (Last Word On Hockey)

The Minnesota Wild have re-entered the playoff battle after rather a miserable run. It was all powered with a message sent to the players by General Manager Paul Fenton. After big moves, the Wild responded to the call as Head Coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to fulfill his commitment. Resurgent Minnesota Wild looks to fuel their playoff hopes in an unexpected way.


Colorado Avalanche

Last Game: Loss @ Anaheim 2-1 (03/03)
Next Game: Vs Detroit – March 5
Games Remaining:

9 Home: DAL, CAR, ANA, NJD, CHI, VGK, ARI, EDM, WPG
7 Road: DET, BUF, MIN, DAL, CHI, STL, SJS
Linked Up: Pondering the Derick Brassard Trade (Mile High Sticking)

As we have already seen, he has a knack for scoring important goals, albeit the Colorado Avalanche did lose an overtime game again on Monday night –worthy of it’s own ranting article. Nonetheless, Brassard put himself in the right place at the right time, burying an excellent pass from an exciting young defenseman Ryan Graves.