The Winnipeg Jets are moving on to the second round for the first time in franchise history.
The game got off to a perfect start with Jacob Trouba opening the scoring 31 seconds into the game. Trouba scored with a beautiful wrist shot that beat Dubnyk on the blocker side. Just over four minutes later Bryan Little scored to extend the Jets lead to two goals. The Jets weren’t done as they added two more goals 49 seconds apart to give the Jets a 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Connor Hellebuyck stood tall for the entire game, stopping all 30 shots he faced, as the Jets won 5-0. After a great series win, it feels appropriate to award more thumbs up than normal, although not everything went smoothly during the first round of the playoffs.
First of all, thumbs up to the city of Winnipeg. Every home game thus far the city of Winnipeg has opened up a larger portion of the street to accommodate more fans. With over 15,000 fans on the street, there were as many passionate fans outside Bell MTS Place as there was inside the arena. The entire game was filled with loud cheering and chants and everyone left the city centre with a spring in their step. With the Jets moving on to the second round there promises to be many more special nights for the great city of Winnipeg.
Thumbs up to Connor Hellebuyck who was excellent all game. After having a fairly easy first period, Hellebuyck played his best hockey during the second frame where the Jets killed two separate penalties. Hellebuyck keeps the shutout streak going at 141 minutes and 37 seconds dating back to game three on Sunday night.
Thumbs down to injuries. While it is hard to pick out any negatives after big series win, there are a few injury concerns. Nikolaj Ehlers was a late scratch after playing all of game four. This was a surprise move at game time as Ehlers skated yesterday as well as today. Maurice stated after the game that it was not serious, but it is never a good situation when someone gets injured. Joel Armia was another casualty, this one happening during the game. Armia went down with a reported upper back injury after playing only 5:24. Mathieu Perreault is currently still injured after getting hurt in game number one. The good news on the injury front is that Tyler Myers played all of game five after a nasty fall in game number three. Matt Hendricks was also back in the lineup and saw his first playoff action after being injured for the last few weeks of the regular season.
Thumbs up to Jacob Trouba. Trouba played quite well all game but had a phenomenal first period. He scored the game winning goal on the first shift of the game and was a force for the rest of the period. Specifically, on the defensive end, he made two nice sliding blocks to break up Minnesota Wild scoring chances.
Thumbs down to taking penalties. After scoring the opening goal, the Jets took the first penalty of the game. Had the Wild scored on the early man advantage, the game surely would’ve taken a different turn. The second period also gave the Jets trouble as they took two more penalties. These power play opportunities could have given the Wild plenty of momentum had they scored a goal. The penalty kill was great for the Jets, but taking a lot of penalties can shift the momentum even in a lopsided affair.
Thumbs up to everyone contributing. The Winnipeg Jets scored four goals in the first period and each one of these goals was scored by a different line. This depth was a key part in the series victory as everybody was a threat on the ice. During game five there were goals scored by five different players while there were ten different Jet players that registered a point. Not only did multiple players score but every skater had over ten minutes of ice time (excluding Armia who left due to injury). The ability to spread the minutes around will be important to keep every player fresh and to reduce the risk of injuries as the playoffs move along.