Gameday Preview: Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals get ready for showdown that could determine Southeast crown

Greg Fiume

After defeating the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night, the Winnipeg Jets sit only one point behind three teams for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two games to play. Tonight they are in Washington as they continue their march toward the postseason.

Game Preview:

The Winnipeg Jets continue to sit in purgatory as the only team in the Eastern Conference that has not been officially eliminated from playoff contention while still sitting outside of a playoff spot. That situation would change tonight with a win in Washington D.C. over the Capitals. A regulation win results in the Jets claiming top spot in the Southeast Division, but keep in mind that the Capitals have played one less game. A win in regulation or overtime locks up the division for Washington.

The Jets are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. The offense has led the way through most of the run, having scored at least four goals in the first six games. But last night in Buffalo was a different story, as the team managed just two goals while Ondrej Pavelec was the first star of the night. It would be delightful if the team could combine great goaltending and great offense for the Capitals.

Keys to the Game:

Winnipeg Jets

A full 60 minutes: Last night in Buffalo, the Jets almost let a well played game slip away late when the Sabres put together several good scoring chances. Ondrej Pavelec shut the door in spectacular fashion, but the goalie can not be counted on to bail the team out every night. Playing the second game of a back-to-back will require a concerted effort to keep the energy up as the regular season nears its conclusion.

Wrap it up: A three point game is bad news for Winnipeg. Hopes for a three seed in the playoffs require a clean two points via a win in regulation time.

Amnesia: The last time these teams met was on March 21 and 22 in Winnipeg when the Capitals outscored the Jets 10-1. The Jets players need to forget that those games ever took place because they will not be able pull out a win tonight while suffering from PTSD.

Washington Capitals

Matching up: With injuries plaguing the Winnipeg Jets there are weak spots at the bottom of the lineup for both forwards and defensemen. The Capitals should look to get favourable matchups against these borderline NHLers every chance they get.

Top vs. top: Both of these teams rely heavily on their top lines. If Alexander Ovechkin and co. get the better of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler the Capitals have a very strong chance to win this game.

Early punch: While the Jets want to forget the previous two meetings between these teams, the Capitals want to remind them as quickly as possible. A fast goal for the Capitals may have the Jets feeling déjà vu while breaking their collective spirit.

Player to boo mercilessly:

Lets subsitute a fan for a player for this game. Boo Mr. Maughan consistently and repeatedly.

Prediction:

Winnipeg: 4

Washington: 3 - F

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