The Winnipeg Jets earned the seventh seed in the western conference and drew a first round playoff matchup with the number one seeded Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks quickly put their playoff hopes to bed and showed Winnipeg that they had plenty of room to grow as the Jets were swept out of the playoffs in four games.
The Winnipeg Jets 2015 schedule opens up without much time to ponder their first round collapse as they endure an early season slate of difficult games. The Jets open up the season with two very winnable games before they jump into a stretch of games against six straight playoff teams from the year before. They do avoid the Ducks in this stretch but go up against the Islanders, Rangers, Flames, Blues, Lightning, and Wild. This early stretch will allow the Jets to find out if their playoff berth from a year ago was legit or an anomaly. In December things slow down somewhat but put back up quickly with a three game slew against the Rangers, Blackhawks, and Blues. January 3rd is the day that the Jets schedule sets up a rematch with the Anaheim Ducks. The Jets could use a regular season victory against the Ducks to better prepare them if the two teams happen to meet in the playoffs once again. It would be a great confidence boost for a team who must be entering the 2015-2016 will little spunk. Defense was the main issue for the Jets against Anaheim. They struggled to slow down the Ducks at all throughout the series and lost a couple of close games due to giving up 5 goals, which is clearly far too many in the playoffs.
Graphic via winnipegfreepress
The Winnipeg Jets schedule takes a turn for the better as the second half of the season gets underway. They avoid most of the top teams in either conference and this will be the time they have a chance to make their playoff push. One last stretch against the Senators, Blackhawks, Wild, and Ducks at the end of the regular season could make or break the Jets season. They only made the playoffs but a few points last year and figure to be in a similar situation. If they can pick up a win or two late against the top teams they will have a great shot at another playoff berth. The next step for the Winnipeg Jets is to do something with their playoff opportunity. At this point, winning one game in the first round would have to be labeled as progress. Before focusing on improving for the playoffs, the Winnipeg Jets will have to navigate through what is a NHL schedule with some tough stretches.
Graphic via snipview