Entering the season, few would have even pictured the Winnipeg Jets in the post-season. That they played in the playoffs this year should be enough to have the team holding their heads high, but it will take a few days for the sting to come off of being swept by the Anaheim Ducks.
When the team finally reflects on the year that was, however, there will be many reasons to be proud of what they’ve accomplished. From defying the odds and fighting through a litany of injuries on the blueline to their strong push in the late stages of the regular season to lock up a wild-card spot, the Jets not only proved they can hang in the tough Central Division, but that they can be one of the more physical and dominating teams in the entire league.
And while they’ll have to wait at least another season for the franchise’s first ever playoff victory, the 2014-15 Winnipeg Jets were a team that opened a lot of eyes. Read more
The story of the first-round series between the Jets and Ducks has been that as soon as Winnipeg gets a lead, it seems Anaheim comes right back and ties it up. None of the Ducks’ game-tying tallies through three games have been quite as nice as Emerson Etem‘s, though.
After Bryan Little gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead, not even two minutes had passed when Etem came streaking back up ice with Jacob Trouba defending him. Trouba was attempting to force Etem to the outside, but when the Jets defenseman attempted to make a move at the puck, he was beaten by an outstanding deke by Etem who then shifted the puck to his backhand and sent a drifting backhander into the top corner: Read more
It was magical seeing towel-waving Jets fans pack the MTS Centre for Winnipeg’s first playoff game in 19 years Monday night. Still, it was a night to forget for the Jets, who blew their third straight third-period lead and lost to the Anaheim Ducks in overtime, falling behind 3-0 in the Pacific Division semifinal.
It was an especially nightmarish evening for Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who was on the ice for three of Anaheim’s five goals and sucker-punched Corey Perry after Perry scored in the second period, a-la Dale Hunter’s attack on Pierre Turgeon. Perry turned out to be fine, but it didn’t make Byfuglien’s actions any less selfish and dumb. The play was over.
So, over the past 22 days, we’ve seen the following acts from Dustin Byfuglien, arguably the Winnipeg Jets’ best, most important player:
While I try to reserve this space for players up for this year’s draft or ones who have already been picked, there’s a treasure trove of 2016s at the world under-18s right now. Auston Matthews just broke Patrick Kane’s U.S. NTDP scoring record, while Finland is getting a huge performance from Patrik Laine (Jesse Puljujarvi’s playing pretty well, too). And Dmitri Sokolov of Russia is already on the minds of NHL scouts. With that established, let’s take a look at some of the other great youngsters in the game today.
When Lee Stempniak scored the game-opening goal for the Winnipeg Jets, the crowd inside MTS Centre reached volumes of 124 decibels, according to Sportsnet. That’s as loud as sandblasting or a rock concert. Matter of fact, and as apropos as it may seem, it’s also nearly as loud as a jet engine.
But that’s been the storyline all along; as great as it may be to see the Jets in the post-season, it was Winnipeg’s chance to show everyone what kind of fanbase they are on a national stage. It was time to prove to those who believed the city wasn’t right for an NHL team they couldn’t have been more wrong. And from warm-ups, when the volume was over 100dB, until the game’s final whistle, the fans brought it.
“This has been a night that has been 19 years in the making,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “You can feel the energy in the city. It’s palpable. What I find particularly interesting, as I’ve travelled the league the last week, the question I got most frequently was, ‘Going to Winnipeg Monday night?’ because everyone knows that this is going to be a special night.” Read more
Through the first two games of the first-round series between Winnipeg and Anaheim, the Jets have gone into the third frame with the lead. Game 3 was much the same, but again, the Ducks clawed back in the third period to tie up the contest. However, Monday’s outing was the first of the series to go to extra time.
In overtime, it didn’t take long before Anaheim completed the comeback. Little more than five minutes into the extra frame, Rickard Rakell stripped Mark Scheifele of the puck behind the net where it was scooped up by Andrew Cogliano and sent back to Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin, the crafty veteran blueliner, fired a low, hard shot toward Rakell, who deflected the puck between Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec’s legs: Read more
The MTS Centre, the Winnipeg Jets’ home arena, is located four blocks from the city’s main intersection at Portage and Main. That said, there’s no doubt pedestrians passing through the heart of downtown Winnipeg heard the building erupt when Lee Stempniak scored the franchise’s first post-season home goal since the club relocated to Winnipeg.
In the first frame, the Jets broke away on an odd-man rush thanks to defenseman Jacob Trouba jumping into the play. Trouba made a beautiful toe-drag around an Anaheim defender before firing a wristshot on goal that Adam Lowry batted without looking back towards the goal. Stempniak, who was coming in from the left wing, was right there to bang the puck into the wide-open cage. And then, bedlam: Read more
Jakob Silfverberg broke a 1-1 tie and spoiled an incredible performance by Ondrej Pavelec to give the Anaheim Ducks the win and a 2-0 lead in their series with the Winnipeg Jets.
Silfverberg’s lightning-quick release beat Pavelec from the bottom of the left circle with only 21 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was an unexpected end to another bone-crunching, tightly-contested affair between these teams that seemed destined to go deep into overtime.