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Power Rankings: High-flying Jets set franchise records and clinch playoff berth

Ken Campbell
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Power Rankings: High-flying Jets set franchise records and clinch playoff berth

Winnipeg Jets celebrate Image by: Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

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Power Rankings: High-flying Jets set franchise records and clinch playoff berth

Ken Campbell
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The Winnipeg Jets have rattled off six straight victories en route to setting a pair of franchise records and earning their first playoff berth since 2014-15. No team has risen as fast as the St. Louis Blues over the past week, though.

So what have we learned in the past two weeks? Well, we’ve learned that the Winnipeg Jets can win. We’ve learned that they can win at home. We’ve learned that they can win even when it takes more than 60 minutes and they can find ways to win.

The Jets began a six-game homestand March 15 and won all six games, the last four of which came in overtime or a shootout. The last of those came Tuesday night in a 5-4 shootout win over the Bruins in which the Jets lost their composure and gave up three power play goals. The wins not only propelled the Jets into the playoffs for the first time since 2015, it also gave them franchise records for points and wins. And it’s a Winnipeg record, too. We say that because the old Winnipeg Jets are actually the Arizona Coyotes and the new Winnipeg Jets morphed from the Atlanta Thrashers. Got it? Good. If not, get with the program.

The recent spate of success has propelled the Jets to the rarified height of No.1 in THN.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.)

THE CREAM OF THE CROP
1. Winnipeg Jets (4)
2. St. Louis Blues (16)
3. Columbus Blue Jackets (2)
4. San Jose Sharks (7)
5. Nashville Predators (1)
6. Washington Capitals (6)
7. Boston Bruins (5)
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
9. Vegas Golden Knights (9)
10. New Jersey Devils (18)

Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers, who are all on entry-level contracts, have combined for exactly 100 goals for the Jets this season…Three weeks ago, dead and buried. Now in the thick of the playoff race. Welcome to life in St. Louis…During their 10-game winning streak, the Blue Jackets scored at least four goals eight times. After losing a game, they picked up right where they left off Tuesday night, torching Edmonton for seven goals…Joe Thornton has started skating for the Sharks again and should be back from knee surgery for the playoffs…In a case of the rich get richer, Eeli Tolvanen, the highest scoring teenager in KHL history, is expected to sign with the Predators any day now…Not including the three games he missed in the middle, Evgeny Kuznetsov has 4-7-11 totals in his past five games…The Bruins have lost just twice in regulation in March…Yes, people should be a little nervous. Steven Stamkos missed Lightning practice Tuesday after sitting out a game Monday night, but he’s expected to be in the lineup when Tampa visits Boston Thursday night in what is now a monumental game…Golden Knights. Playoffs. Unbelievable…Is there any reason not to just give Brian Boyle the Masterton Trophy right now?

THE MUSHY MIDDLE
11. Toronto Maple Leafs (12)
12. Florida Panthers (11)
13. Minnesota Wild (15)
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (14)
15. Los Angeles Kings (13)
16. Colorado Avalanche (8)
17. Philadelphia Flyers (22)
18. Anaheim Ducks (10)
19. Dallas Stars (23)
20. Vancouver Canucks (31)

Remember when people were talking about Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen as a legitimate contender for the Vezina Trophy? Yeah, they’re not doing that anymore…Panthers goalie James Reimer goes into tonight’s crucial game against his old team with a 5-0-0 record and two shutouts in the month of March…Fresh off signing after his season ended at Boston University, top prospect and former U.S. Olympian Jordan Greenway played 10 minutes in his debut for the Wild Tuesday night…Has anyone noticed that with their 5-2 loss to Detroit Tuesday night, the Penguins are 15-20-4 on the road this season? That’s not good…Things look good for the Kings down the stretch. They have five games remaining, four at home and one in Anaheim…It will be a shame if the Avalanche don’t make the playoffs because it will likely cost Nathan MacKinnon the Hart Trophy…The Flyers have been the epitome of inconsistency. A month ago they were atop the Metropolitan Division. Now, they’re a wildcard team – at least for today – coming off back-to-back overtime losses to Dallas and Detroit. On the plus side, they haven’t lost in regulation in six games…Ducks coach Randy Carlyle on Troy Terry, who signed with the Ducks after his season ended with Denver on the weekend: “He’s going to play. I think it’s important when you bring a young kid in that he’s not here sitting around. We’re in a situation where we could use his skill. He’s a skilled player that the organization has drafted and spent a lot of time with.”…Prepare to officially stick a fork in the Stars. Four of their last five games are on the road, where they haven’t won in seven games in March…Yeah, this spot is a little charitable for the Canucks, but they’ve won two in a row and it’s been a long season.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE
21. Carolina Hurricanes (26)
22. Edmonton Oilers (19)
23. Arizona Coyotes (17)
24. New York Islanders (21)
25. Montreal Canadiens (29)
26. New York Rangers (20)
27. Chicago Blackhawks (30)
28. Buffalo Sabres (24)
29. Detroit Red Wings (27)
30. Calgary Flames (25)
31. Ottawa Senators (28)

Could Warren Foegele of the Hurricanes be one of those unique players who’s a better pro than he was a junior? He’s off to a great start, with 26 goals in the American League and two in his first two NHL games…If the Avalanche don’t make the playoffs, my MVP vote goes to Connor McDavid. Don’t care a lick that the Oilers have been awful this season…Clayton Keller, with points in nine straight for the Coyotes, is looking more and more like your Calder Trophy winner for 2017-18…The Islanders aren’t in the playoffs and they don’t deserve to be. They’re 3-10-4 since mid-February and went 1-4-0 on a recent homestand…Brendan Gallagher has tripled his goal output from last season and was the only bright spot for the dismal Canadiens in 2017-18…Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is due back tonight in Washington after missing three games with a back injury and playing in just one of the past six…Defenseman Brent Seabrook will play his 1,000th career game, all of them with the Blackhawks, Thursday night…Casey Mittelstadt, the No. 1 prospect in THN’s Future Watch edition, will make his NHL debut for the Sabres Thursday night against Detroit…Defenseman Adam Fox will not join the Flames this season and intends on returning for his junior year at Harvard in 2018-19…After being declared out for the season with a leg injury, Mark Stone may be back with the Senators for the final week of the season.

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Power Rankings: High-flying Jets set franchise records and clinch playoff berth