Updated Jan. 3
The NHL's return to Winnipeg this season didn't get off to the best start. In fact, it was downright ugly early on as the Jets couldn't get off the ground for the first month of the season, winning just five of their first 17 games.
Since then, it's been like a completely different team is hitting the ice. The Jets have rather quietly put together an impressive run that's put them right back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture with wins in 14 of their past 21 games. Two of the losses came in overtime or a shootout to gain at least a point in the standings.
Ondrej Pavelec has been solid in net, but the biggest difference-maker so far has been third-year forward Evander Kane, who has turned into a legitimate goal-scoring threat. Through his first 37 games this season he has already scored 18 goals; he set his previous career high of 19 a year ago in 73 games.
The Jets have also been taking advantage of one of the best home-ice crowds in the NHL and have been nearly unbeatable in Winnipeg, currently owning the best home mark in the league at 14-6-1. Their road struggles are still a concern, with just five wins in 17 games away from the MTS Centre. That must be corrected if they're to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.