The Winnipeg Jets playoff hopes are officially on life support.

After picking up points in seven consecutive games (6-0-1) to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Jets were defeated 5-3 by the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

The win allowed the Capitals to clinch the Southeast Division title and forces the Jets (51 points) into a situation where they'll need to defeat the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night and get a whole bunch of help to sneak in the backdoor.

It looks like the Jets best of their fading hopes would be to see the Ottawa Senators falter during their final three games of the season -- against the Capitals on Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and the Boston Bruins in a make-up game on Sunday.

The Jets trail the Senators by one point, but Ottawa holds two games in hand.

Stranger things have happened, but the point will be moot if the Jets don't win Thursday and even if they do, the chances of making the post-season will still be slim, given how the Senators have battled adversity throughout the season.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers lost 3-2 to the Florida Panthers, leaving them one point up on the Jets with two games left to play.

One team the Jets have no chance of catching is he New York Islanders, who punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday with a shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

As if to rub salt in the open wound of Jets fans, Islanders winger Kyle Okposo, whose high check to the chin knocked Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian out of the past two games with a suspected concussion, chipped in with a pair of assists.