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JNGD.R1G2 Flight Plan: Looking For That Two Game Lead

Two days into the playoffs and we’ve already had our fair share of expected moments – Sidney Crosby doing Sidney Crosby things, Flyers goaltending doing Flyers goaltending things, and the Capitals doing playoff choke job things.

And just like it happens every playoffs, we’ve also had unexpected moments like the Vegas Golden Knights going full Ottawa Senators on us (you never go full Senators..) and Joe Morrow scoring the first ever playoff game winning goal in Thrashers/Jets history.

Seriously… Joe Morrow.

You could have given me 15 guesses to guess who would be the first ever Jet to score the franchises first ever playoff GWG and I would have whiffed on all 15.

The playoffs already be crazy yo!

Minnesota Wild
@
Winnipeg Jets

Round One – Game Two – Series 1-0 Jets
April 13, 2018 – Puck drop: 6:00 PM CST

Bell MTS Place – Winnipeg, MB.
TV: Sportsnet – Radio: TSN 1290

Before we begin…

This entire season in these flight plans we’ve looked at what both teams have done recently and against each other in previous meetings. Obviously, with the playoffs we’re all already aware what has been going on, so our previews for games two and beyond will focus on each team’s previous performance and what they can do differently in tonight’s game.

What did the Jets do right in game one?

Two things and their kind of related… For one, they didn’t panic when they fell behind 2-1 early in the third period and honestly they haven’t really panicked at all this season, so why start now? It wasn’t like the Wild had any stretch of long dominating hockey at any point in the game and the two goals against within the first four minutes of the third period felt more like the Jets not being quite ready to go more than the Wild taking over. After that second goal from Zach Parise, it was all Jets. After that Laine goal to tie, it was still all Jets.

That leads to the second point… The Jets kept pounding the rock. They peppered Dubnyk with 40 shots in total. They were relentless and it was everything the Wild could do to get the puck out of their zone the moment they touched it regardless if it found it’s way back to a Winnipeg stick.

What did the Wild do wrong in game one?

Simply put, they didn’t have enough offensive punch. One could argue that they were too busy trying to fend off wave after wave of Winnipeg attack, but the Wild did have chances but they were few and far between and when they did get them, they were often one and done.  The Wild’s best period was the second where they had a good majority of the scoring chances, but couldn’t cash in. The Wild need to take advantage of every break they get and lull in Jets play they see in this series and in their first opportunity, didn’t do so.

How do the Wild win game two?

Continue to be physical but even more so. The officials let a lot of physical play go and the Wild’s best chance to get back into the series is take advantage of the refs not calling an overly tight game and grind the Jets down to a near halt. That, and keep relying on Devan Dubnyk who had a .625 save percentage in game one.

How do the Jets win game two?

Try to open things up a little more and continue to blitz the heck out of the Wild with speed. Minnesota simply can’t keep up. The other key will be to hang around the front of the Wild net a little more. The Jets had chances with rebounds at multiple points, but Winnipeg players were typically a good foot or so away positionally, or they were flying by a rebound they couldn’t get back to. Both the Laine and Morrow goals came from a little chaos in front of Dubnyk.

What others are saying…

Over at Hockey Wilderness, Tony Abbott wonders if the Wild shouldn’t try to put all their offensive eggs in one basket.

Since the Wild couldn’t penetrate the Jets’ defenses, a new strategy is needed. Fortunately, there’s a simple, easy change coach Bruce Boudreau can make: put all his best players together.

Of course, I’m referring to Eric Staal, Jason Zucker, and Mikael Granlund. They’ve combined for 96 goals (38.4% of Minnesota’s 250), and are easily the three most dynamic forwards the Wild have.

Player ratings courtesy Corsica.Hockey

Winnipeg Jets Lines

LW C RW
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 77.7#15 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 80.2#14 C

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 82.2#4 RW

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 76.4#23 LW

Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.7#51 C

Patrik Laine
PATRIK LAINE

Rating: 82.5#3 RW

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 74.8#34 LW

Bryan Little
BRYAN LITTLE

Rating: 73.2#73 C

Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA

Rating: 71.2#85 RW

Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 73.3#57 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 74.2#58 C

Brandon Tanev
BRANDON TANEV

Rating: 70.5#102 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 73.9#31 LD

Jacob Trouba
JACOB TROUBA

Rating: 78.1#13 RD

Joe Morrow
JOE MORROW

Rating: 71.5#90 LD

Dustin Byfuglien
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN

Rating: 80.4#8 RD

Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT

Rating: 70.8#106 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 74.9#28 RD

GOALIES
Connor Hellebuyck
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK

Rating: 75.3#14 G1

Steve Mason
STEVE MASON

Rating: 71.7#36 G2

Minnesota Wild Lines

LW C RW
Jason Zucker
JASON ZUCKER

Rating: 79.1#10 LW

Eric Staal
ERIC STAAL

Rating: 79.9#17 C

Nino Niederreiter
NINO NIEDERREITER

Rating: 75.7#28 RW

Zach Parise
ZACH PARISE

Rating: 76.2#26 LW

Mikko Koivu
MIKKO KOIVU

Rating: 73.8#64 C

Mikael Granlund
MIKAEL GRANLUND

Rating: 77.6#16 RW

Jordan Greenway
JORDAN GREENWAY

Rating: 72.2#75 LW

Matt Cullen
MATT CULLEN

Rating: 71.2#121 C

Charlie Coyle
CHARLIE COYLE

Rating: 72.2#67 RW

Marcus Foligno
MARCUS FOLIGNO

Rating: 70.5#106 LW

Joel Eriksson Ek
JOEL ERIKSSON EK

Rating: 70.7#133 C

Daniel Winnik
DANIEL WINNIK

Rating: 70.6#97 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Jonas Brodin
JONAS BRODIN

Rating: 73.9#30 LD

Mathew Dumba
MATHEW DUMBA

Rating: 77.1#16 RD

Carson Soucy
CARSON SOUCY

Rating: 72.1#68 LD

Jared Spurgeon
JARED SPURGEON

Rating: 77.4#15 RD

Nick Seeler
NICK SEELER

Rating: 71.9#73 LD

Nate Prosser
NATE PROSSER

Rating: 69.8#104 RD

GOALIES
Devan Dubnyk
DEVAN DUBNYK

Rating: 73.4#28 G1

Alex Stalock
ALEX STALOCK

Rating: 65.1#66 G2

Gameday Prediction

The Wild had a chance to steal a game in Winnipeg and blew it and worse yet, the Jets know they can be much better. Dubnyk will have to be at his best yet again, but it may not be enough as many Jets got their first game (and first win) jitters out of the way. Jets win game two, 5-1.