The Winnipeg Jets have finished the 2018-19 in the same position they finished the 2017-18 season, although this time around it feels a bit different.
A second place finish with 99 points on the season is a terrific accomplishment, one that was completed with a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. With that, the Jets will face the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs and have the home ice advantage.
The St. Louis Blues won in a shootout at home to the Vancouver Canucks to put them up to 99 points on the season as well, but the Jets owned the tie-break thanks to winning the season series.
While second place is nothing to be ashamed about, it’s hard not to think of this as anything else but an utter collapse over the last month given just how many days the Jets have been sitting on top of the Central, and as recently as two weeks ago after a 5-0 win over Nashville, the Jets only needed eight points in the next seven games to clinch their second ever division title and the first in Winnipeg NHL history.
Instead the Jets went 1-5-1 in those last seven games, earning only three points and when it was all said and done, all they actually needed was six to clinch.
So it goes, the Jets – who limp into the playoffs having gone 3-6-1 in their last ten games – will now prepare for a Blues team that as of December 31 was 31st in the NHL and have had a remarkable second half of the season.
The Jets did win their season series against the Blues going 3-1-0 against them, but those games were all before mid-December and you can argue the Blues are by far a much different and better club than they were then.
We’ll have more previewing the Jets / Blues upcoming series in the days to come as it’s time to prepare for a Whiteout!