We've heard the phrase "Win and you're in."
Well, for the Winnipeg Jets, the phrase will become "reaching overtime is good enough" on Tuesday night when they face the Minnesota Wild in Saint Paul, Minn
If the Jets (45-32-3, 93 points) record at least a single point from the contest, they'll guarantee themselves the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference
Winnipeg greatly boosted its playoff odds with a 6-2 victory over the lowly San Jose Sharks on Monday. The Jets will have the chance to mark an 'x' in the standings over their season-ending, two-game road swing that also will see them face the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday
"Until you get that point, you're chasing it," Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey said of his team almost being able to taste the postseason. "There's no sense of letting your foot off the gas. ... Until you have that checkmark beside your name on the standings sheet, we've got to keep fighting and pushing for it."
The Jets have yet to pick up a victory over Minnesota this season. Winnipeg dropped a 6-1 decision on Nov. 23, a 4-1 outcome on Dec. 27, and a 4-2 loss on March 8
"We played one of our best games of the year against Minnesota (on March 8) ... we dominated the game. (Wild goaltender Marc-Andre) Fleury stood on his head," Jets coach Rick Bowness said. "But all that just doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. You put all that aside. ... they know the importance of it, we know the importance of it. It should be a hell of a game.
Minnesota is approaching Tuesday night's game in a different light. The Wild (46-24-10, 102 points) already have clinched a playoff spot and are in a race to improve their positioning in the Central Division as they reside two points behind the leading Avalanche (49-24-6, 104 points) and Dallas Stars (45-21-14, 104 points)
"There's still things to play for here," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "We still need to play hard; there's still pride in our dressing room.
The Wild left several players at home, including Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, for a extra rest. Without them in the lineup, Minnesota still posted a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday
With those extra spots opened, it meant more opportunities for players such as defenseman Brock Faber to make his NHL debut. He was fresh off a new entry-level contract and a trip to final of the Frozen Four with the University of Minnesota.
Faber, 20, ended the game with a team-high 21:49 minutes of ice time and six blocked shots.
"He's very poised out there. He plays a very mature game," fellow defenseman Alex Goligoski on Faber. "Great stick, communicates, seems like he's always in the right position. He's well beyond his years. He's gonna be really good player."
--Field Level Media