It was far from a dominant performance, but stellar defence and goaltending by the Winnipeg Jets was enough to earn a 2-0 win, and a dominant 3-1 lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal.
Mark Scheifele scored a first period goal that came as a result of relentless pressure from the Jets’ top line. Offensive chances were few and far between before and after that point, as this was a very tight checking game.
The Jets were outshot 30-28, with Minnesota only generating a few true chances. The most obvious of which was a 3-on-1 in which Connor Hellebuyck came across to rob Matt Dumba blind. It was the first career playoff shutout for Connor Hellebuyck, and came just hours after he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for his regular season performance.
For the WIld, Devan Dubnyk turned aside 26 of 27 shots, and remains the best performer for Minnesota thus far. Mikko Koivu led the Wild with four shots on goal.
Scheifele put this one to bed with an empty net goal with eleven seconds left.
- Bump, grind, clutch, grab, repeat. That was the first ten minutes of this one, where there was a lot of skating, but really not much happened.
- The Jets were extremely lucky to escape a 5-on-3 penalty kill scenario late in the first period when a pretty obvious cross-check by Josh Morrissey to the neck of Eric Staal went uncalled. Staal shook it off after a brief trip to the bench, but he was pretty ticked about it. Possible phone call with the Department of Player Safety for Morrissey.
- Held without a shot in the game three loss, Mark Scheifele opened the scoring as Minnesota was unable to withstand relentless pressure from the Jets’ top line. Kyle Connor picked up his first playoff point, as did Minnesota’s newest public enemy #1.
- Early in the second, the Jets allow a three-on-one rush, only for Connor Hellebuyck to stone the Wild cold. And that’s the bottom line...because Connor...Hellebuyck...SAID SO!
- Hellebuyck took a penalty for causing someone to fall down near the midway point of the game. A solid penalty kill ends in a hooking penalty to Mikko Koivu. The Wild fans felt hard done by, as they always seem to. The ensuing Jets power play was pretty blah.
- Dustin Byfuglien vs Jordan Greenway bodycheck was advantage Buff. I guess the extra 35 pounds was the difference.
- Finger nails are overrated.
- PING! Scheifele off the post.
- Wild pull the goalie. All of the grey hairs are born. SCHEIFELE ICES IT!
- After the dominant performances on home ice with last change in Game One and Two, there is a major opportunity for the Jets to put this one away in Game Five.