ANALYSIS: Jets finally solve Dallas problem with second place within reach

Just when you think there’s nothing more to prove in this long NHL season, a game like Thursday night’s occurs and helps you prepare for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. And for a game this late in the season, between two teams already bound for the post-season, it proved to mean so much.

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If you’re an avid sports fan, you’ve seen players in many sports who are going through scoring droughts. When they end that drought, they gesture that they are finally taking the “monkey off their back.” Well, I fully expected to see Rick Bowness make that gesture Thursday night. The Dallas monkey was finally off his back this season.

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It was the Jets’ first win vs. Dallas this hockey year — by a shutout no less — and the three goals the team scored equaled the goals they scored against the Stars in the first three games, head-to-head.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago this team went winless in six, and everyone — and I mean everyone — was getting a little nervous. Now, five wins later, this team appears ready for anything.

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The satisfaction of defeating Dallas and avoiding the season sweep should be sweet indeed for the former Stars coach and his Winnipeg team. To win in Dallas might be as important as anything.

You see, there is (and rightly so) a true belief with the Jets that this is going to be a long, successful spring through the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s not unreasonable to think that a Dallas-Winnipeg second round match-up could be a reality. Getting the W in Big D proves there is no jinx against the Stars.

Thursday’s game also marked the 19th win inside the Central Division for the Jets. That’s a better total than the Stars, Avalanche and Predators — the other teams going to the post-season from the Central.

So now, it’s on to Colorado for the Jets. And a game that now means so much more. Second place is in their sights. And if they win out in Denver and at home to Seattle and Vancouver, second place is theirs.

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