For the longest stretch this last quarter of the season, the top three in the Central seemed set. The Jets would take first, the Preds second, and the Blues third. Then things became interesting. Oh, lord, did they become interesting.
After getting stuck in a rut, the Preds are 7-2-1 in their last ten. After holding court over the division, the Jets are 4-5-1 in their last ten. The Blues? Holding pace at 7-1-2. Thanks to the Preds recent solid play, they sit first in the division by a point over the Jets and Blues.
If the season ended today instead of tomorrow, the Blues would be playing the Jets, with Winnipeg holding home ice. If you’re looking at records against, the Jets are not the team that you want to see the Blues wind up playing; Winnipeg owns the season series 3-1-0, outscoring the Blues 18-10 in those four games. Nashville, on the other hand, has been less than stellar against the Blues; St. Louis owns that season series 4-1.
My gut tells me that the Blues really need to find a way to play the Preds. A Winnipeg win, Preds loss, and a win for the Blues gets that scenario. On the other hand...
As someone who watches both Jets and Preds, you definitely want to play the Jets. They’re on a downward trajectory right now, whereas Preds are headed up. Look at the L5 games.— k (@peasandkaris) April 5, 2019
The issue with trying to figure out which team to play is that while the season long owning of the Preds has been through thick and thin, the Blues’ troubles with the Jets date from the first half of the season. No Binnington, no mojo, pre-winning streak. How do you judge how the second-half Blues will do against a team that plowed through them when they were at the league’s basement?
The Jets’ last five games are not good. It started off with a 5-4 loss to the Islanders on March 28th, and continued with a 3-1 loss to the Habs, a 4-3 OT win against the Hawks that the Hawks nearly won, an embarrassing 5-1 loss to the Wild, and a 3-2 OTL against the Avs. They’ve become masters of frittering away leads and letting the opposition back in the game.
So, who do you hope for? Jets or Preds? Or, if things really fall the Blues’ way tomorrow and the Preds and Jets both lose while the Blues win, are you ok with the Dallas Stars, who have been consistently good against the Blues this season?
We can’t control fate, we can’t predict it, but we can talk about how we’d like for it to go.