Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wins + wins = post-season

Formula for making playoffs quite simple Coach Claude's crackerjack juggling act

  • Print

Somewhere right now -- perhaps in a classroom overflowing with mathematicians decked out in white lab coats -- some of the brightest minds on the planet are writing formulas to determine the percentages of NHL teams chasing a playoff spot.

Here's a simple formula for Winnipeg Jets fans: Win and they're in for the first time in their River City reincarnation and for the first time since 2007.

And now it gets very real: Of the remaining four games on the Jets' schedule two -- today against the New York Islanders and Tuesday in Washington against the Capitals -- come against teams directly in their crosshairs.

"It's a game we've been waiting for," said Bryan Little. "We're winning games, we're watching the scores and the teams we are chasing are winning games, too. It's finally nice to play a team that we're chasing. We've been waiting to play one of these teams and now we finally get our chance."

The Jets trail the Islanders -- seventh in the Eastern Conference -- by three points and are just two back of the Southeast Division-leading Caps.

Both the Isles and Caps are among the NHL's hottest heading down the backstretch. New York has won two straight and is 7-1-2 in its last 10; Washington had an eight-game win streak snapped by Ottawa on Thursday but is 8-1-1 in its last 10.

The Islanders thoroughly dominated the Jets earlier this month on Long Island in a 5-2 win on April 2.

"I like the way they play," said Jets coach Claude Noel of the Isles after Friday's practice. "I really like the way they play. They got a team with speed, skill and they're smart... They're going to test some areas in our game."

The Jets are 5-1 since that meeting, however, and in their current five-game home winning streak have re-established the mojo they had last season at the MTS Centre. This is Winnipeg's second-last regular-season home contest, with the Montreal Canadiens here for the finale on April 25. The Jets want to make sure that isn't their last home game this season.

"We're playing a lot better now," said Little. "We've got that confidence back and we're scoring goals. That (the Islander loss) was at a very low point in our season when we weren't playing that well."

The Jets are pointing to the current six-game homestand as critical in helping them recharge. But what has also been evident of late is real growth, demonstrated by their ability to twice shake off blowing 3-1 third-period leads this week to emerge with monumental wins.

"You can call it growth, if you want," said Andrew Ladd. "But I think it's also desperation and understanding the importance of those two points. When you're in that position, you need to find a way to win." Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Coach Claude's crackerjack juggling act

SHUFFLING THE 'D': The Jets made some significant shifts to their defensive pairings in Thursday's win over Carolina, as Zach Bogosian finished with Grant Clitsome and Dustin Byfuglien was teamed with Ron Hainsey. Those pairings, along with Mark Stuart-Paul Postma, remained intact at practice on Friday.

"When you coach you do things to help you win," said coach Claude Noel. "I juggle lines, I juggle people, I take some in, some out. You do things for the only reason there is: to help you win. Whatever that means.

"It's the same thing with my philosophy on whether you keep the lineup the same because you're winning. Not really. People might think that, but if I feel that we would win against the Islanders with three new players and I have three players I think would help us win I'll put them in. It's the same thing. You do the same things for the same results. How you get there doesn't matter. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't."

KANE IS ABLE: LW Evander Kane did not participate in Friday's practice, but Noel said it was just for "maintenance" reasons and he should be good to go against the Isles.

-- Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2013 C11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


150+ dead in France plane crash, cause unknown

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up

View More Gallery Photos


What are your feelings on NHL potentially implementing 3-on-3 overtime?

View Results

Ads by Google