They don't get too much bigger than this for the Jets. (Getty Images)

The Pregame Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Friday's scoreboard

8:30 ET, Washington at Winnipeg

Not many people expected that we'd be seeing the Winnipeg Jets playing meaningful hockey games in mid-March in their first season in the 'Peg. But they are, very meaningful.

They don't get much bigger than what is on tap for them tonight. The rest of the league has finally caught up to or even passed the Jets in games played so it's a lot easier to judge their place in the standings. They have now played an equal number of games as the Capitals -- 70 -- and the Jets are four points back of the Caps for eighth. So two points head to head is kind of vital for Winnipeg.

I wouldn't envy Winnipeg's chances if the Capitals come in and win their fifth straight game overall, moving six points ahead. Not to mention it keeps the Caps in the hunt for the Southeast Division lead, which is currently a three-point difference. Of course the game going the other way closes Washington's lead to just two points on the Jets.

Because of the oddities of the NHL scoring system, each team has a winning record in the head-to-head series this season, each at 2-1-1. The two games at MTS Centre have also been split, the Capitals winning the last one in mid-December 1-0.

Just a hunch here, but I have a feeling the crowd in Winnipeg is going to be well aware of how big the game is for their boys in blue.

7:30 ET, Montreal at Ottawa

Speaking of things people didn't expect before the season, the Ottawa Senators being first place in the Northeast Division ahead of the defending champion Bruins? Preposterous!

Except for the fact that it will happen on Friday night if the Senators can take care of the Canadiens on home ice. Do that and Ottawa takes over first place in the division for the first time since 2010. It will also knock the B's out of the pole position in the division for the first time since Nov. 30. I'm not sure which part of the equation is more incredible, Boston's fall or Ottawa's ascension.

The game is actually the second half of a quick home-and-home between the two Eastern Canadian team. The first go round was a Habs shootout win. Plus they will meet again in another week back in Montreal. Considering how the Habs have played this season, the schedule has set up to help the Sens a bit, now they just need to take advantage.

All of a sudden the fact that the Bruins have games in hand on the Sens doesn't seem to be that big of a deal either. It's only one game (two after tonight) but if the Bruins aren't going to be cashing in on those IOUs, it doesn't much matter. It's up to Ottawa to put up as many points as it can and see if it holds up.

9:30 ET, Calgary at Edmonton

If you're handicapping the West's race for the final two playoff spots (good luck with that, by the way) the Sharks are probably still the team you give the best odds to take one of the berths. But what about the Calgary Flames ?

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They have only won five games in a row, none much bigger than Thursday's 4-1 win over the Coyotes, one of the teams immediately ahead of them in the West. Jarome Iginla has scored in six straight. Rookie sensation Sven Baertschi (see below for more) has been spectacular since coming up scoring three goals in the last four games.

You have to like their odds of making it six straight wins considering their success in the Battle of Alberta. It's not like the Flames are world-beaters, but they've looked like it for the most part against their provincial partners. Calgary has won four of the five games this season, the only blemish being a 6-1 Oilers win in their last meeting.

To illustrate how crazy the Western Conference is at the bottom of the playoff picture, the Flames jump from 10th place to seventh with a win tonight, passing the Sharks, Avalanche and Coyotes along the way.

Others worth watching

8:30 ET, Chicago at Dallas: Remember, the Stars aren't so far ahead in the Pacific that they're safe either. They are only two points ahead of Phoenix and three ahead of San Jose. Same story for Chicago, it is only three points up on that mass of teams 7-11. So whoever gets the points tonight gets a little security blanket too.

10 ET, Los Angeles at Anaheim:The Kings have been left behind a little by the rest of the pack lately just because they haven't been playing quite as much. But they need to keep up with the Joneses too and beating their SoCal rivals is a good place to start.

Your promised miscellany

  • Thursday's Winners & Losers
  • It's not exactly Linsanity, but the city of Calgary has come down with Svenmania. (Calgary Herald)
  • It really feels like just a matter of time of Quebec City getting a team again with a potential owner possessing "all tools" necessary. (Toronto Sun)
  • Who is coaching the Islanders any way, Jack Capuano or John Tavares ? (Puck Daddy)
  • Finally, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't happy with this hit Tuomo Ruutu laid on Andy McDonald on Thursday. "I thought the hit was certainly a penalty, whether it's a suspension or not, who knows? But that's what's wrong with our game. The player was in a vulnerable position. He knocked his stick to knock him off balance and then pushed him hard into the boards. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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