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

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.

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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