11 games remain for the Jets and while they have been flying pretty high lately, division rivals Arizona and Colorado have been even better.
Winnipeg has sights on 1st place in the Central Division still but clearly this is no easy task. The Jets currently sit 3 points back of the Coyotes and 4 points ahead of the Avalanche.
Winnipeg is currently on a 4-day layoff that gives the team time to rest up and fine tune their game. Also gives us time to evaluate what has gone right for the Jets during the stretch since the trade deadline.
We start with between the pipes.
When this team fell into the hands of GM Jesse Edwards, Connor Hellebuyck had played the most games of any goalie in BEARD Hockey, meaning back up Alexander Georgiev was going to get into some important games down the stretch.
The obvious strategy was to put Georgiev in against Eastern opponents and that’s what Coach Cooper did. While fans were covering their eyes of what might be a disaster, Georgiev was nothing short of fantastic posting a 4-1 record in the 5 games he started. Assuredly a nice surprise for management but also a nice confidence boost for the entire organization with regards to Georgiev playing in competitive games.
Although Georgiev has been great there is another player on this team that might be the real reason for the Jets surge, Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom might just be the hottest player in all of BEARD Hockey right now. Since pulling on a Jets jersey 13 games ago, he hasn’t failed to garner at least 1 point in every game.
In fact in the 13 games, Backstrom has put up 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points, that’s a whopping 1.77 points per game for the Winnipeg team. That’s not all though - we need to add a plus-8 rating along with 52.89% in the face-off circle. Add all these numbers together and you get a player that has taken this team to a new level of competitiveness.
Barring a catastrophic nose dive it’s looking more and more likely the Jets make the playoffs, but will 1st round home ice slip away?
The Winnipeg Press