Winnipeg entered tonight with its back against the wall. Down 2-3 in the playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, the Jets needed to steal a win on the road to force a game 7 back in friendly territory. Both teams have only taken victories on the road, so there was a modicum of hope that Winnipeg would put out a good effort in St. Louis. Did the Jets string together a quality comeback effort, or was the series finally closed out in merciful fashion?
The First Period
The game got off to a rather horrific start, with Jaden Schwartz capitalizing on the Jets being dumb 23 seconds in. Hellebuyck didn’t have good post coverage on the right side, and Byfuglien got beat in a race to the net. The burly defenseman was physically boxed in towards Hellebuyck and prevented the netminder from properly fielding the puck. It fell underneath to Schenn’s waiting stick and in a flash, the Blues were up. The Jets attempted to respond with several sustained offensive zone possessions but reverted to their old habits of accomplishing very little with it.
The Blues, for their part, had to withstand some early Winnipeg pressure until they could properly counter on rapid breakouts. On a number of counters, St. Louis caught the poor Jets defense on bad turnovers and passes near the net. One particularly nasty sequence saw a Blues defenseman sling a pass halfway across the ice to a wide-open Fabbri, who had a clear breakaway opportunity denied by Hellebuyck. Despite the first goal against, Hellebuyck stayed alert and kept the Jets within striking distance. It’s a shame the rest of the effort was piss-poor, because Winnipeg won’t get another game to right the ship.
The Second Period
Did the Jets honestly show up to work today? If they did, I didn’t see them on the ice. We’ve seen some embarrassingly wretched hockey from Winnipeg, but this effort, or lack thereof, might be among the most insultingly godawful displays they’ve ever put forth. All credit to St. Louis, who dominated the Jets at every turn, but what the fudge was this period??? In an elimination game, no margin of error allowed, Winnipeg looked like it was already on the golf course. I am honestly too annoyed to even broach the subject of the second Schwartz goal that shouldn’t have counted, but couldn’t be challenged because the challenge was already burned on a good goal.
Pitiful. Just pitiful. At least we’re two periods closer to oblivion.
The Third Period
I technically have to write words about this period, so I’ll say a few things. The Jets had a couple of shots on net. Literally, a couple. Schwartz completed his unlawful hat-trick. Byfuglien and Little had goals. My season fatigue finally kicked in and I welcomed the end of the season. Truth be told, this result isn’t as surprising as it should be. Winnipeg had a sterling regular season record, but it masked just how bad this team was playing for the better part of 2 and a half months. Despite some strong surges in this playoff series, the real 2018-19 Jets revealed themselves tonight. What a complete waste of a golden opportunity.
P.S.: Screw you, The Hockey News, this is your fault.
- You, the readers, for bearing with the Jets this season!
- The hopeful exit of Chiarot, Kulikov, and Myers.
- Pretty embarrassing way to go out.