Matinee game vs. Stars a big one for Jets

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec shows his displeasure after Colorado Avalanche centre Matt...

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec shows his displeasure after Colorado Avalanche centre Matt Duchene scored with 1.6 seconds left in the second period NHL action at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man., on Thu, Dec. 12, 2013. (Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 PM ET

WINNIPEG - These are the dog days of the hockey season, far removed from the excitement of the start, and still nowhere near the stretch drive for the playoffs.

Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated for one of 82 regular-season games smack dab in the middle of December and the pull of holiday shopping.

The Winnipeg Jets, though, have parlayed their one-step-forward, one-step-back approach into an unusual and unenviable position: 11 days before Christmas, and they’re already staring at a red-letter game with serious implications.

It sounds ridiculous. With 49 of them still to go, how could Saturday’s afternoon tilt with the Dallas Stars hold that much weight?

The answer is both physical and psychological.

The concrete facts say the Jets need this one to avoid the dank confines of the Central Division basement. The other two teams sharing it, the Stars and Nashville, have played fewer games.


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