Push for the Playoffs: Jets, Oilers on collision course for First Round meeting

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Sean Leahy
·4 min read
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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

This week’s two-game set between the Jets and Oilers is part First Round North Division dress rehearsal, part fight for home-ice advantage.

Edmonton is winning the battle currently, up a point on Winnipeg following Monday’s 6-1 romp. The Oilers also have the advantage with two games in-hand on the Jets.

Whatever’s ailing the Jets right now needs to be fixed before the playoffs. Winnipeg has now dropped four straight and have been outscored 18-5 over that stretch. Mark Scheifele was benched during Saturday’s loss to Toronto and they just have not moved into “playoff hockey” mode yet.

“We missed the gear change coming off the road,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Monday night. “We need to make a decision based on the game that is being played now, not the game that was played two weeks ago. So that gear change happened and it’s happened with the two teams ahead of us in the standings in the division, and tonight it blew up on us.”

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

Getting a win Wednesday night against their likely First Round opponent could go a long way to getting off to a strong start in their opening series. Edmonton has won six of their eight meetings this season and outscored Winnipeg 18-6 during their five consecutive wins over the Jets.

This bump has derailed a Jets team that was playing good hockey for most of the season. They have a six-point buffer in front of fourth-place Montreal, but with the Habs owning a game in-hand, more dropped points could send them to a First Round meeting with the Maple Leafs.

Winnipeg has eight games left in the regular season to pick up the pieces and get their confidence back.

“I’d say it’s shaken in the moment,” said Jets forward Andrew Copp. “But if we dig deep we can revert to some of the positives we’ve had over the course of this season and trick ourselves into feeling good. Yeah, temporarily shaken, but definitely not broken.”

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

EAST DIVISION
1. Capitals vs. 4. Bruins
2. Penguins vs. 3 Islanders

NORTH DIVISION
1. Maple Leafs vs. 4. Canadiens
2. Oilers vs. 3. Jets

CENTRAL DIVISION
1. Hurricanes vs. 4. Predators
2. Panthers vs. 3 Lightning

(NOTE: Dallas currently holds a better points percentage than Nashville — .551 to .549.)

WEST DIVISION
1. Golden Knights vs. 4. Blues
2. Avalanche vs. 3. Wild

TODAY’S KEY GAMES
Blues vs. Wild, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN livestream)
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET
Oilers vs. Jets, 9 p.m. ET
Avalanche vs. Golden Knights, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN livestream)

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Capitals – 99.98%
Penguins – 99.97%
Bruins – 98.3%
Islanders – 95.6%
Rangers – 6.1%
Flyers – 0%
Devils – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – 100%
Oilers – 99.96%
Jets – 99.6%
Canadiens – 89.3%
Flames – 8.5%
Canucks – 2.7%
Senators – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – Clinched
Panthers – Clinched
Lightning – Clinched
Predators – 58.5%
Stars – 40.8%
Blackhawks – 0.7%
Red Wings – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Golden Knights – Clinched
Avalanche – Clinched
Wild – Clinched
Blues – 68.7%
Coyotes – 21.4%
Kings – 6.9%
Sharks – 3%
Ducks – 0%

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 17.7%
Ducks – 13.7%
Devils – 10.6%
Blue Jackets – 8.9%
Red Wings – 8.4%
Senators – 8.3%
Sharks – 5.8%
Kings – 5.3%
Canucks – 5.1%
Blackhawks – 3.5%
Coyotes – 3.3%
Flames – 3%
Flyers – 2.2%
Blues – 1.1%
Stars – 1.1%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 81 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 66
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche – 60
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 60
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 59
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 58

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 34 goals
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 28
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 26
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 26
Tyler Toffoli, Canadiens – 25
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 24
Aleksander Barkov, Panthers – 24

More NHL News

The Buzzer: Big wins help Lightning, Panthers clinch playoff spots NHL preparing to adjust Stanley Cup Playoffs if needed Roundtable: Playoff race excitement; Marleau’s Hall of Fame case

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Push for the Playoffs: Jets, Oilers on collision course for First Round meeting originally appeared on NBCSports.com