ANALYSIS: Jets face real playoff-calibre test in Big Apple Tuesday

The Winnipeg Jets did exactly what they were supposed to, with 6-0 and 6-1 wins over Anaheim and Columbus on the weekend.

Now comes the latest test for the NHL Central Division leaders to prove they are the real deal.

And that would be Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden — where Winnipeg will try for only its second win against a playoff-calibre opponent since that 4-2 victory in Vancouver just over a month ago.

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Now the Jets’ 10-2 record against the 12 non-playoff opponents they have faced during that 16-game stretch should not be outright dismissed. Taking advantage of opportunities is how a team positions itself for a first-place finish. There shouldn’t and won’t be any apologies for that.

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But other than a few missteps Sunday night in Columbus, most noticeably in a sloppy third period, the Jets ended a string of eight straight without consecutive victories by playing “the right way” for the most part in the lopsided decisions over the Ducks and Blue Jackets.

So now the question begs to be answered: Will this be the kick-start to the required level of execution versus a fellow division leader?

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The Rangers are on a roll too, winners of five of their last six as they try to remain a few skate lengths ahead of Carolina for first place in the Metro — although that task won’t be made any easier with top-four defencemen Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren both on the shelf.

But as the Jets have steadfastly maintained, the focus is entirely on themselves, not what’s going on with the opposition. Attention to that detail has been, shall we say, just a little blurred in recent losses at Dallas and Vancouver — and last week at home to Nashville.

So shine on Broadway, gentlemen, and maybe, just maybe, if they can make it there, the Winnipeg Jets can make it anywhere.

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