(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to pick up another important victory when the desperate club visits the Minnesota Wild for Monday's Central Division battle at Xcel Energy Center.
After losing three of four games at the end of March, the Jets began their April schedule with Saturday's 5-4 home win against Vancouver. The victory allowed Winnipeg to keep pace with Los Angeles for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
The Jets and Kings are even at 92 points and each club has four games left in the regular season. L.A. holds the tiebreaker with four more non-shootout victories than Winnipeg and the Kings, who beat Colorado on Saturday, will visit Vancouver tonight.
Minnesota sits four points ahead of the Jets and Kings for the first wild card spot in the West. The Wild can clinch a playoff spot with a regulation or overtime win on Monday. If Minnesota beats Winnipeg in a shootout it would need L.A. to lose to the Canucks in order to punch a ticket to the postseason.
The Jets and Wild have split four meetings in the 2014-15 season series and three of the games have been decided in overtime. Winnipeg halted a three-game losing streak in Minnesota with a 4-3 OT victory on Dec. 27.
Winnipeg won an entertaining battle against the Canucks on Saturday afternoon. Five of the game's nine goals were scored in the opening 20 minutes, but Lee Stempniak's second goal of the game, which came midway through the third period, proved to be the game-winner.
The Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first before Vancouver tied the contest. Stempniak's first marker made it a 3-2 game with 1:47 left in the opening period and Winnipeg held a lead the rest of the way.
Jim Slater, Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele also scored to help the Jets end a two-game losing streak. Ondrej Pavelec made 26 saves in the win.
"We've got to find a way to bear down in games," said Jets forward Mathieu Perreault. "We've done a good job for most of the year, now lately, we've kind of struggled with leads."
The Jets played without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who served the first part of a four-game suspension for cross-checking the Rangers' J.T. Miller on Tuesday. Fellow blueliner Toby Enstrom left Saturday's game in the third period with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for this evening's contest. The Jets activated defenseman Ben Chiarot off injured reserve Sunday and he is expected to play tonight.
Winnipeg is playing on consecutive nights and visits St. Louis on Tuesday for the middle test of a three-game road trip. Pavelec has started four straight in net and is expected to go again tonight. Michael Hutchinson could play tomorrow against the Blues.
Devan Dubnyk, meanwhile, has started 35 straight games for the Wild and Mike Yeo shows no signs of changing that trend now. Dubnyk also is likely in line to go again tomorrow when Minnesota visits Chicago to begin a three-game road trip that will complete the Wild's regular season.
Ever since acquiring Dubnyk from Arizona on Jan. 15, the Wild have been one of the NHL's best teams. However, the club has lost its last two games, marking its first set of consecutive losses since Jan. 19-20. Minnesota hasn't lost three in a row since a six-game slide from Jan. 3-13.
After losing 3-2 in regulation to the New York Rangers on Thursday, the Wild fell by the same score in a shootout against visiting Detroit on Saturday. The marathon shootout ended when Darren Helm beat Dubnyk in the eighth round, although video evidence was needed to prove it was a good goal.
Helm's low shot hit off Dubnyk's leg and bounced back out, but the netminder made the stop over the goal line and the game ended following a brief review.
Minnesota trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, but Zach Parise evened things with a power-play tally with 13:27 left in regulation.
Parise supplied two goals for the Wild, while Dubnyk made 20 stops through regulation and overtime.
"I felt like we should've won the game so it's disappointing to not get the second (point)," Parise said.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu was a late scratch Saturday due to an eye injury, while defenseman Nate Prosser played for the first time since missing eight games with a sprained knee. Koivu is questionable for tonight.