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A higher spot in the standings on the mind of the Winnipeg Jets as they face Nashville

Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) scores against Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during third period NHL action in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. (John Woods/The Canadian Press) Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) scores against Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during third period NHL action in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)
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Including Tuesday night, there are five games left for the Winnipeg Jets in the regular season.

The playoffs have been booked, but the team still has plenty to play for. Winnipeg currently sits third in the Central Division, two points back of second – which is occupied by the Colorado Avalanche.

"We want to push for the division title. Until we can't do it, we're going to keep pushing for it and make sure our process is right, make sure our game is in the right spot," said defenceman Dylan DeMelo.

"You don't pick who you play in the playoffs, you just try to pick up as many wins as you can and kind of let the chips fall where they fall. But obviously, if you can get home ice, it's a big advantage. Obviously, one for the travel, but getting matchups and things of that nature. And obviously, the White Out, to have more games at home is always better."

They are also trying to fend off their Tuesday night opponent, the Nashville Predators. The Preds are in the top wild-card spot, six points back of Winnipeg.

Nashville has been one of the best teams in the NHL since the calendar turned to 2024. The Jets know it won't be easy to grab the two points – especially in Nashville's building.

"They've been playing really good hockey for the second half of the season, and they always seem to play good here too. It's a tough building to play in and the crowd gets into it right away. So these are fun games at this time of year."

"It feels a little bit more like a playoff game," said defenceman Logan Stanley. "We're going to have to be ready to go, we know they've been playing well lately, and they got a good team over there. We're both trying to get our team ready for the playoffs and it should be a good one."

The Jets have lost two of three games against the Predators this season, and Head Coach Rick Bowness said they need to have early success if they want to get a win.

"Get the faceoff, get the puck in deep and establish our forecheck so they can't be coming at us. So that's key for every line, we get out there the first six, seven, eight minutes, first, second, third shifts you're out there, go north, go north, and go hard, and not let them establish that game that they want to play," said Bowness.

Bowness provided more details on how Nino Niederreiter has been progressing since he was injured last week. He suffered a deep gash in his leg on Monday against the L.A. Kings after being cut.

He joined the team for a morning skate on Tuesday, with Bowness saying he skated "very lightly."

"We'll put him back on the ice on Thursday and go from there, practice Friday. The timeline is impossible to say. I know I talked to him and it was a little sore, a little sensitive as you would expect. But it's just good to see him on the ice. But a timeline, no idea."

Connor Hellebuyck will be getting the start for Winnipeg, with puck drop at 7 p.m. CT.

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