Hextall on Hockey: Is it already time for Winnipeg Jets to push the panic button?

Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine (29) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeffrey T. Barnes

A 0-2 season start in any 82-game regular-season schedule would not be cause for concern.

But with only 56 games on the 2020-21 schedule, a team’s first 20 games could determine a playoff berth or eliminate a team from the playoffs.

Let’s say, to make the post-season, a team will need around 63 points, or the equivalent of seven games above the .500 mark.

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If a team records five wins and 15 losses in its first 20 games to be 10 games below .500, that means a team would have to end the 56-game regular season 17 games above .500 to make the playoffs.

An even more difficult task considering each game is a divisional matchup.

Which means injuries – even those that are day-to-day, such as Patrik Laine’s upper-body injury — can be detrimental to the Winnipeg Jets, who are 1-1 after two games.

Read more: Hextall on Hockey — Pressure on for Jets’ Hellebuyck

With each game tied to playoff implications, even a small injury, one that most players would normally skate through in a regular season, must be taken seriously.

The last thing a team needs is a minor injury nagging a player throughout the season and costing a team multiple man-games lost.

For example, if Laine’s current injury sidelines him for one week, the top-six winger won’t miss two or three games like most regular seasons — Laine would be absent from five games, a possible 10 points, which doubles in the all-divisional four-point swing schedule.

Which means more than any season before, good health is the best wealth.

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