It’s no secret the Winnipeg Jets have been struggling mightily over the past several weeks. It appeared that first place in the division was locked up after the playoff clinching victory over the Nashville Predators on March 23, but that’s no longer the case.
Things have taken a turn for the worse since that day and the Jets are now in danger of falling all the way to third in the division and losing home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
There’s still plenty to be decided on the last day of the regular season as the Jets, Predators, and Blues are all jockeying for position within the division.
So, what are the possibilities for the Jets? Let’s run through everything that can happen on the last day of the regular season.
Currently, the Predators are first with 98 points and the Jets and Blues are tied for second with 97 points.
According to the stats, the Jets are most likely to face the Blues in round one, but let’s look at the other possibilities heading into the final game.
71% St. Louis — what a world.
— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) April 5, 2019
Best case scenario – First in Central
All hope is not lost. The Jets can still finish first in the Central Division if everything goes according to plan. For this to happen, the Jets need to beat the Coyotes and then hope the Predators lose either in regulation or overtime. The Jets hold the tie-breaker on the Predators so even if Nashville picks up a point, the Jets will pass them with a victory.
It also doesn’t matter what St. Louis does if Winnipeg wins because the Jets hold the tie-breaker on them as well. In this scenario, the Jets will play either the Stars or the Avalanche in round one.
The Jets can also claim first in the division even without winning their game. They would need to pick up one point and also need to have the Predators lose in regulation plus have St. Louis lose in any fashion.
Recap: Jets claim first if Jets win and Predators lose in any fashion.
Recap: Jets claim first if Jets lose in OT, Nashville loses in regulation and St. Louis loses in any fashion.
Second best scenario – Second in Central
This option isn’t too bad as the Jets will still have home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If the Jets finish in second, they will either be hosting the Predators or the Blues in the first round.
This situation can happen in a multitude of ways. The first option is that Nashville has to win and St. Louis has to lose. If this occurs, it doesn’t matter what Winnipeg does. (This would also happen if Nashville and Winnipeg pick up one point each and St. Louis loses)
St. Louis can also capture the division title. If St. Louis wins, Nashville loses, and the Jets pick up one point, then the Jets will be second in the division and Nashville will be in third.
Lastly, if all three teams lose in regulation, the standings won’t change and the Jets would stay in second place.
In the first and last case, the Predators would be first and the Jets would host St. Louis.
In case two, the Blues would be in first and the Jets would host Nashville in round one.
Worst case scenario – Third in Central
It would be a very big collapse if the Jets manage to drop to third in the division. Given the way they have played as of late, this might be the most likely scenario of all.
This can happen in two ways. If the Jets lose in regulation, the Blues only need to pick up one point to pass Winnipeg. If the Jets lose in overtime, they can still be surpassed with a St. Louis victory.
Recap: Jets fall to third in the division if St. Louis gets more points than Winnipeg in the final game.
In this case, the Jets would not have home ice advantage through the entire playoff run and would either visit Nashville or St. Louis in the first round.
Well, that was easy…
If you aren’t a numbers or puzzles type of person, this can make your head spin. Whether you understand the implications or not, everything will be decided by the end of the night. In the meantime, kick up your feet, sit back, and enjoy the final game of the regular season.