The Winnipeg Jets started this post-season on a by finally winning their first playoff game as a franchise. After two playoff series under two names in two countries, the Jets finally won a playoff game by playing fast, disciplined hockey.
The first period was tentative from both teams. While the Jets led the shots 11-3, they were not gaining the middle of the ice and were taking most of their shots form the outside. While it was not a bad period for the Jets, it was not one that would make it easy for them because it is clear that their game is build on speed and general fun.
The second period saw the Jets start to hit their stride on the power play, but it was not until the last two minutes of the period that they were able to score and that was thanks to Mark Scheifele on the power play. With Patrik Laine drawing tight coverage, Scheifele was left open in the slot and he took advantage.
Finally, the third was the first time the Jets got tested and the responded perfectly. The Wild scored two quick goals and then Laine went to work scoring an absolute beauty. After that Joe Morrow, yes JOE MORROW, scored a goal from long range. The Jets managed to go on a 14-0 shot run before Mikko Koivu, ruiner of things, got a shot. After that, the Jets decided to deploy the fifty billion icings strategy to win the game by one. It worked and on their ninth try, the franchise finally won a playoff game 3-2.
- The Winnipeg Jets should have distinct home-ice advantage when it comes to the crowd. Jets fans do not have a lot of practice at this playoff thing so they are able to be genuinely excited by this whole charade. (An aside; one of my students today was wearing a white t-shirt this afternoon on Pink Day for the White Out)
- The Jets defence is going to be important to breaking the trap. If you noticed, Dustin Byfuglien was able to start many of the Jets best shifts by skating through the neutral zone and being Buff.
- The Wild are a boring team. They have always been a boring team and they will always be a boring team. What’s worse is that they are trying to make the Jets boring as well. This is what they always do and it sucks.
- The Jets are doing a lot of things well, but breaking into the Wild’s zone is hard. The power play is big for them because it forces the Wild to give the Jets a bit of room and boy did they use it, especially Patrik Laine.
- It took most of the second period, but the Jets finally figured out that they need to use their speed to carry the puck into the offensive zone. What clued them in on this was an excellent entry from Nikolaj Ehlers that led to a chance and then a second chance for Bryan Little. After this the Jets seemed to realize they have the ability to break the trap.
- The Jets finally break through on the power play and it is thanks to Mark Scheifele. Scheifele’s spot on the power play is the high slot and he is open when teams give tight coverage to Laine like the Wild did on this power play. Scheifele is a fine goal scorer in his own right and it is wonderful to see him continue to produce in the playoffs.
- I know it is Connor Hellebuyck’s first playoff game in the NHL, but can we stop pretending that last year was a blip and that he has generally been an excellent goalie at every level he has played at and it is not surprising that he is a good goalie no matter the environment? Not every goalie is young Marc-Andre Fleury (old Marc-Andre is fine judging by last year’s series against the Washington Capitals)
- The Jets weakest links on defence are Ben Chiarot, Joe Morrow, and Tyler Myers. Tonight they are 0-3 with all three of them. Joe Morrow was doing some interpretation of defending a two-on-one on the Wild’s second goal that is surely to never be used in a “how to defend” video.
- Patrik Laine is a beautiful boy. He worked seamlessly with Paul Stastny to score his goal. Underrated part of that play was Ehlers being ready for the shot if needed. Of course Laine needs no help with his shot so...good try, Nikolaj.
- One million icings later and the Thrashets have finally won a playoff game.