(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets hope to move a bit closer to securing just their second playoff berth in franchise history on Sunday evening when they host the struggling Chicago Blackhawks.
The Jets have 90 points on the campaign, the most for the club since it recorded 97 as the Atlanta Thrashers in 2006-07. That also is the only time the franchise has reached the postseason.
Winnipeg is currently sitting in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, three ahead of the Calgary Flames with seven games to go. The Flames are visiting the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
The Jets also are in reach of third place in the Central Division, currently held by the Minnesota Wild and their 95 points. The Wild moved a point past the Blackhawks with a win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, knocking Chicago into the first wild card spot.
Winnipeg has won six of its last seven games, picking up a big 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Ondrej Pavelec posted 39 saves for his sixth victory in a row, while defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returned from a nine-game absence caused by an upper-body injury to score his club's first goal on the night.
Mark Scheifele, Jim Slater, Blake Wheeler and Adam Lowry also lit the lamp for the Jets, who bounced back from Tuesday's loss in Vancouver and are 12-2-2 in their past 16 games at home.
"We were just driving," said Slater. "That was a good team. They threw up a lot of shots, and (Pavelec) obviously gave us the confidence there that he was definitely in it tonight. We put some big goals on the board at the right time."
The Jets play the second contest of a four-game homestand tonight and will ride Pavelec's hot hand again. However, he is 0-3-2 lifetime versus Chicago with a 4.61 goals against average and .867 save percentage.
There is a chance that Winnipeg will have forward Mathieu Perreault back in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 16. He has been out due to a lower- body injury and the 27-year-old has 18 goals and 18 assists in 56 games this season.
The Blackhawks look to get on track tonight after losing for the third time in four games with Friday's 5-2 setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored first-period goals, but Corey Crawford yielded four goals on 13 shots in less than 20 minutes of work.
Scott Darling turned away all 13 shots he faced in relief, though Chicago's offense failed on all five of its power-play opportunities.
"We had a lot of chances," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We did a lot of good things, but at the end of the day we think we can play better."
Crawford is 4-4-0 versus the Jets with a 2.07 GAA and .922 save percentage, while Darling has never faced them.
The Blackhawks host the Kings on Monday.
Chicago had lost four straight to Winnipeg before picking up a 2-1 overtime victory on Feb. 6 on the road. Saad scored with 1:59 left in OT and Crawford made 20 saves, while Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson halted 20 shots in defeat.
The Blackhawks have won six in a row as the guest in this series, including all three meetings in Winnipeg.