(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets have picked up a point in each of their last two games, but the struggling club hopes to end a six-game losing streak on Sunday when it welcomes the Colorado Avalanche to the MTS Centre.
The Jets have followed a five-game winning streak from Jan. 13-21 with their current 0-4-2 slide. The first four setbacks came in regulation before Winnipeg grabbed a point in consecutive overtime losses against Vancouver and Chicago.
Despite the skid, the Jets are still holding onto the first of two wild card spot in the Western Conference. Winnipeg is one point ahead of Calgary in the conference standings and is four in back of Chicago for third place in the Central Division.
Both OT setbacks came without embattled forward Evander Kane, who reportedly refused to show up for Tuesday's game in Vancouver due to a dispute with teammates. Then, prior to Thursday's home test against the Blackhawks, the club placed Kane on injured reserve before announcing the 23-year-old was scheduled to have shoulder surgery that will sideline him for 4-to-6 months.
Trade rumors were swirling around Kane before he was placed on IR, and according to various reports the Jets may still try to deal him before the trade deadline on March 2. Kane is under contract through the 2017-18 season.
The Jets scored first in Friday's game versus Chicago, but in the end the club watched its season-worst skid reach six games.
Mark Scheifele handed Winnipeg a 1-0 lead just 4:17 into the game and the score remained that way until Patrick Kane scored for Chicago with 2:50 left in the second period. Brandon Saad then tallied the game-winner for the Blackhawks with 1:59 remaining in OT.
Michael Hutchinson made 20 stops in defeat.
"We played well for a full 60 minutes. We came out with good energy," said Hutchinson. "It was an exciting game to be a part of. It's unfortunate we just didn't get the win."
The Jets are playing the second tilt of a three-game homestand that is set to end Tuesday against Minnesota. Winnipeg is 12-10-4 as the host this season.
Colorado lost for the second straight time on Saturday and the Avalanche failed to score a goal in either loss. The Avs are just 4-4-3 over their last 11 games.
The Avalanche were handed a 3-0 loss by visiting Detroit on Thursday before getting blanked on the road by Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Charlie Coyle scored the game's only goal in the first period and Dubnyk only needed to make 18 saves for his fourth shutout since joining the Wild in a trade last month. Minnesota has shut out the Avalanche in all three meetings this season. Darcy Kuemper made a combined 46 saves as Minnesota outscored Colorado 8-0 to sweep a home-and-home series to begin the season.
Avs netminder Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 shots, including 16 in a lopsided first period, for Colorado, which enters Sunday with a scoreless streak of 125 minutes, 20 seconds.
"I liked the way we regrouped after the first period," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said.
The Avalanche, who are six points out of a playoff spot in the West, went 0- for-2 on the power play on Saturday. They are 0-for-24 with the man advantage in the last eight games.
Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie missed a second consecutive game with a hip injury and is questionable for Sunday.
Varlamov will start Sunday on consecutive days for the Avalanche. He is 7-4-2 with a 2.69 goals against average in 14 career outings against the Jets.
Sunday's tilt marks the fourth of five meetings between the Avs and Jets this season. Colorado ended a three-game losing streak in the series with a 4-3 shootout win over a visiting Winnipeg club on Dec. 11, but the Jets have claimed three straight and four of the past five meetings at MTS.