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ANALYSIS: Clinching playoff spot can’t come soon enough for slumping Jets

As the NHL calendar flips to April, seven teams have officially punched their tickets to the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s hard to believe the Winnipeg Jets are not part of that group.

Just two weeks ago, the Jets were sitting atop the NHL Central — engaged in a terrific three-way battle for division supremacy with Dallas and Colorado.

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Ten games into a gruelling month of March that had them playing 16 times in 29 days, Winnipeg was 7-3 and coming off a benchmark 4-2 win over the Metro Division-leading New York Rangers, right in Madison Square Garden.

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We revisit this recent bit of past history because in the dozen or so days that have followed, there hasn’t been a whole lot that has gone right for this hockey club.

Their six-game losing streak represents the longest skid for this team in more than two years.

Two of those defeats have come in games when the Jets have scored first — which, up until now, had been pretty much a guaranteed win.

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Sean Monahan Interview – March 28'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Sean Monahan Interview – March 28

Connor Hellebuyck, a one-man slump-buster over the course of his first 500 games played for the franchise, has been between the pipes for five of them.

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And for the record, Hellebuyck’s not even close to being the reason the Jets will now have to settle for a third-place finish in the division or a wild-card berth in the conference.

But we offer just a couple of examples to point out that what had been “safe places” for the hockey club can no longer be a given — at least until there’s a mental shift from every player to resist trying to do too much. A realization that stubbornly forcing plays or attempting “hope passes” will only prolong the frustration. That “grease” must be the word in front of the opposition net.

Who knows. Maybe all that comes back into focus when X finally marks the spot beside “Winnipeg Jets” in the standings.

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It could happen in the next 48 hours. The way things have been going, that wouldn’t be soon enough.

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Rick Bowness Interview – March 28'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Rick Bowness Interview – March 28

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