The Winnipeg Jets got their first ever franchise playoff victory in game one of the Stanley Cup playoffs. There was a lot to unpack during the first game. Here is a recap of some of the story lines and discussion points from game one.
Thumbs up to the fans at Bell MTS Place. The atmosphere looked phenomenal and it really shows how much fans care about this team. The crowd outside was also fantastic. It is great to see a win from a fanbase that is hungry for some playoff success.
Thumbs down to Mathieu Perreault. Perreault got beaten around for all of 6 minutes and 52 seconds before leaving the game with an upper body injury. It looked to be a shoulder issue from that high hit coming across the blueline.
Thumbs up to depth. With Perreault going down there are plenty of options moving forward. Jack Roslovic must be chomping at the bit after seeing his squad take game one in an electric building.
Thumbs down to defensive lapses. The first goal the Jets gave up was due to a lack of communication from Myers and Ehlers, as both of them got caught watching the puck and somehow missed a wide open Cullen coming down the middle.
Thumbs up to Laine. There is no better way to start a playoff career than scoring a goal. A player like Laine needs to score goals to feel good about his game. He did just that in dramatic fashion, scoring the tying goal.
Thumbs down to the style of play. The first period of this game was extremely cautious by both teams. Nobody wanted to pinch at the blueline or try to carry the puck in. There was a lot of dump and chase tactics being used by both teams to get their legs under them. Once the first goal went in, the game opened up and started to feel more like a normal NHL game.
Thumbs up and down to Byfuglien. The thumb up goes to the huge hit on Eriksson Ek. That was easily the crunch of the game and gave the fans something to cheer about before the first goal. Thumbs down to Byfuglien as well on the ill-advised pinch that led to the second Minnesota goal. There is no need to try and steal the puck at the opposing blue line when all of your teammates are in a bad position. It was not a smart move by the big man and it cost Winnipeg a goal.
Thumbs up to the goaltenders. Both Hellebuyck and Dubnyk were very strong during game one. Hellebuyck looked big and boring, which is exactly his style. His rebound control was good and he looked very calm considering it was his first career playoff game. Dubnyk played exceptionally well during game one as well. The goals that did go in were not entirely his fault and he made a few big saves early in the game to keep it scoreless.
Thumbs down to icing the puck. The last two minutes of the game felt like FOREVER. Maurice mentioned post-game that if they had an open shot from their own end, they would take it. I think the Jets could have played the final two minutes a little better and should have scored a couple empty net goals. I think the Jets might sign the Jennifer Jones crew to help sweep those in next game.
Thumbs up to speed. Once the game settled in a little bit the Jets started to use their speed to their advantage. Both Ehlers and Connor had a few rushes during the game that got the crowd on their feet. When the Jets play fast and let Ehlers take some rushes, good things happen.
Lastly, huge thumbs up Joe Morrow. A depth defender brought in as insurance is not supposed to score playoff game winners. While only scoring one goal since coming to Winnipeg, there is no better way to score the second one. Cheveldayoff is looking more like a genius every single day.