The Winnipeg Jets have played very well in their second playoff series since coming to Winnipeg after two periods of trying to figure out how to play the Minnesota Wild without losing who they are as a team.
The Jets are a team of tremendous speed and skill. When they impose of teams they use these two elements to suffocate their opponents and it makes them very tough to beat. We have also seen the third element of their dominate play come to light in the playoffs: their hitting. With players like Adam Lowry and Dustin Byfuglien on the team, it is hard to imagine them not using physical play to a degree. Their physical play has been important to their dominate play this post-season for a very important reason: they are hitting to gain possession of the puck.
Gaining possession through hitting is one of the basic tenants of hitting people and it is why many hockey fans do not like players like Zack Rinaldo. The Jets are not running around hitting guys for no reason and it is helping them win games.
The story from the first two games of the series should not be that the Jets are out-hitting the Wild; it should be that they are out-playing the Wild in every facet of the game. They are using hitting to their advantage to supplement their speed and skill. They are a fast enough team that it is believable that the saying “you can’t hit what you can’t catch” comes in to play here as well.
If the Jets keep on playing like they are playing, they should easily make it out of the first round. They are currently showing that they are just too much for the Wild. They have used not only their size and speed, but their ability to hit guys cleanly to gain possession of the puck to tire the Wild out. It has worked for two games and they have been able to use this strategy without taking penalties. Hopefully they can keep it up and continue to be the dominate team that they have shown themselves to be.