Winnipeg Jets: Long Stretch of Upcoming Road Games Could All but End the Season

Anthony CapocciContributor IFebruary 19, 2013

OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 9: Stephane Da Costa #24 of the Ottawa Senators faces off during a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Place on February 9, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets sit with a 5-8-1 record. It’s a worse enough record to have them tied with the Washington Capitals for last place in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets will try to get back in the win column Tuesday night as they face off with Buffalo. They have dropped three straight games, all of which came on home ice. This isn't the same home-ice team from last season that won just about every game in the MTS Center.

With the way the next couple of weeks shape up, it could get even uglier.

Nine of the next 11 Winnipeg games are on the road. They hold a 2-3-1 record on the road already this season, but it’s no secret that they’re arguably the worst road team in hockey dating back to last season.

The nine road games are a mixture of division rivals, teams that have started off slow but have caught fire as of late and already dominant teams such as New Jersey who they face three times during this stretch.

Their next 11 games look like this:

This is a pretty difficult stretch and the Jets will be facing a lot of hungry teams.

Take Tuesday night’s game for instance. The Sabres are only two points up on the Jets in the standings, but they’re an extremely difficult matchup. They have been playing solid hockey as of late, but just aren't getting the wins. They’re a few clicks away from ripping off a solid win streak.

Unfortunately, when teams are in skids or slumping, they usually find their game against the Jets. The Jets have become the NHL’s very own slump busters.

The Jets’ most difficult games during this stretch are against Philadelphia, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and New Jersey on three separate occasions. So far this season, the Jets have kept almost every loss they’ve suffered close. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep some of the coming games close on the scoreboard.

Some of the struggles remain and hope of them getting fixed is starting to run out. The Jets have played well, really well at times, but the inconsistencies continue to follow this team.

Solid goaltending along with a strong defensive effort is going to be key during this stretch. With top-defenseman Tobias Enstrom out for an unknown amount of time, players are going to have to step up. The Jets need to find their scoring touch, too. The Jets haven't scored more than two goals in any of their previous five games.

Realistically, it would be an unforeseen miracle if the Jets were able to even come out of this stretch over .500.

To sum it up: 11 games and 22 points a at stake. Nine of the 11 on the road, the other two at home. There was once a time when home games could almost be seen as guaranteed points, but that isn't the case now. If the Jets are able to come away with half of the points at stake, it would be seen as a success.

It’ll take some massive improvements to not come out of this stretch all but buried. Before you know it, the Jets could be out of any possible playoff scenario.

Parity is still very existent in the NHL, however. The Jets are only six points back of the division-leading Hurricanes. Anything is possible, but don’t hold out much hope.

If the Jets want to remain alive for this season, they’re going to have to surprise just about everyone. Or else, it’s time to hop on the Seth Jones bandwagon and look forward to the NHL draft.