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Yup, the Winnipeg Jets now lead the Southeast Division

Feb 24, 2012, 12:18 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Lightning v Winnipeg Jets Getty Images

Earlier this week, PHT broke down how wide-open the lowly Southeast Division really is. If that evidence was insufficient, chew on this: the Winnipeg Jets climbed up to first place tonight after they held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3.

The Jets seemed like they’d win a laugher when it was 4-0 but the Bolts made it more interesting with a three-goal third period, including No. 43 for Steven Stamkos. (Stamkos now has a 10-tally cushion against Evgeni Malkin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.)

Andrew Ladd scored a goal and two assists while Dustin Byfuglien had a helper and what he likely didn’t expect to be the game-winner when he made it 4-0. Check out the highlights below.

Now, it’s true that Winnipeg’s divisional lead is a little misleading. They have 67 points (30 wins – 26 in regulation/OT) in 63 games played while the Florida Panthers (66 points, 27 wins – 24 in reg/OT) have four games in hand and the Washington Capitals (63 points, 29 wins – 28 in reg/OT) have three more.

Still, recent mediocre play from the Panthers and Capitals lends the Jets some confidence and their cushy schedule should help them stay on track.

With all that in mind, it should be an awfully interesting – if sloppy – stretch run for the worst division in the NHL.

  1. carminesarducci - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    “(Stamkos now has a 10-tally cushion against Evgeni Malkin in the Art Ross Trophy race.)”



    Stamkos has a 10 goal lead on Malkin in the race for the Rocket Ricard Trophy. Those two players are actually tied in the overall points race with 73. That’s your Art Ross Trophy. Can’t believe I’m correcting an actual hockey writer about something like this. Sheesh….

    • lsxphotog - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I have been able to tell that most of the NBC guys on here are fans, but don’t really know the game or players too well. Which isn’t a really bad thing because they would all end up opinionated as hell like all of us. haha But this is a bad slip-up.

  2. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Wait Winnipeg is located in the southeast? Huh, I knew I got a D- in geography. Good thing the NHLPA has decided Winnipeg (who is in the Canadian prairies) belongs in the southeast.

    • barkar942 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Just think if they were still in Atlanta, no one would even notice that they were leading the division. At least in Winnipeg, 15,000 a night are applauding their effort!
      Can anyone say Hamilton? Quebec? Maybe even Seattle?
      If the Coyotes do move, at least wherever they end up they will get a pretty good team. And Mike Smith deserves comeback player of the year!

    • mikebel11 - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:25 AM

      Thanks for hearing about hockey for the first time this year greatminnesotasportsmind. Great joke!

    • jdubs21 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:41 AM

      Ah, Americans.

      Sorry to any of the real US hockey fans, but I mean, come on…..come on greatminnesotasportsmind, it’s right across the border, are you seriously that dumb?

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        apparently you didn’t see the sarcasm of Winnipeg being in the southeast. i’m just bitter the nhlpa ruined the awesome realignment for next year.

      • bethgoesglobal - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

        I agree w/greatminnesotasportsminds sarcasm. Anyone who saw the Jets/Wild game recently knows how great that rivalry would be. The place was packed with fans of both team- real playoff atmosphere. And I’m sure he knows exactly where Winnipeg is since it is just north of the MN/Canada border.

  3. bethgoesglobal - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    I would also like to say that I am offended for Jets fans. While I may not be one myself I’ll admit that they have a pretty good team. Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Wheeler, Ladd, Little, and others have all been chipping in goals to keep them competitive in the league. On top of that their home record has been one of the best in the league. So congrats to the Jets on their success this season.

  4. mianfr - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    As a hockey fan, you have to like what they’re doing.

    I mean they’re basically the exact same team that they were in Atlanta, but now they actually have a rabid fan base and play to them, and you just kind of feel like they deserve a playoff spot, especially over the listless Capitals.

  5. lsxphotog - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Disgraceful 1st and 2nd from Tampa last night. They only played 20 minutes and are lucky they got those 3 goals in the third.

  6. govtminion - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I’d love to see the Jets get in. I’ve watched a lot of Capitals games this year, and I’d hate to see a team of lazy players get in rather than this group. So sure, go Jets! Here’s hoping they make a fun first round out of it (I won’t ask for more than that), and here’s hoping the Capitals end up sitting at home in April- with their current efforts, it’s not too far-fetched to think it.

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