Photo Credit: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado or Nashville: Who Do You Want?

Midway through the third period of the Winnipeg Jets 5-0 closing out beat-down of the Minnesota Wild, Jets fans made it well known who they were ready for in the second round…

“We want Nashville”

It’s been a match-up that pretty much everyone in the hockey world has been anticipating for months. You can easily make the argument that the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets have far and away been the two best teams in the Central Division – they did manage to respectively finish first and second place in the western conference and even in the entire league.

It’s that potential second round series that has helped spark debate over the current playoff format, as a clash of two of the best regular season clubs feels like it should for a conference championship at the very least and not be relegated to a second round match.

So as the sun was setting on the Minnesota Wild in game five, it only felt normal for Jets fans to call out their next victims opponents. At the same time the chant rang out at Bell MTS Place, another game five was taking place in Nashville and it seemed all but a formality that the Predators would close out their series as well.

Only one problem…

Andrew Hammond’s 44 save performance inspired Colorado to a third period rally from being down 1-0 on a rather controversial goal to Sven Andrighetto’s game winning score with 1:28 remaining.

The Avalanche win forces a game six to be played out in Colorado on Sunday night.

In the opinion of many, this development has only delayed the inevitable and the lone benefit to the Jets will be an extra day or two off perhaps and possibly a Predators side that will be a little more battle worn than the now recovering Jets.

You might not be able to remove the grin from Jets fans faces should the Avalanche force a game seven back in Nashville for Tuesday night.

The Jets struggled with the Predators all season, going 2-3-0 against them in the regular season. Two of the three losses were of the soul crushing variety. A 6-5 loss back in February 27 where the Preds scored three unanswered goals in the third period to steal away a win in regulation. Two weeks later the Preds followed that up with a 3-1 win over the Jets with a first period effort that mirrored the butt kicking the Jets just handed out to Minnesota a few nights ago.

With the Jets having a much better regular season record against the Avalanche at 2-0-2, a regular season series that includes a 6-1 thumping given out in Winnipeg on February 16, you could forgive Winnipeg fans for maybe preferring a rocky mountain date, but as the old saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Even with the potential for home ice in the second round against Colorado, the Avalanche, led by Hart trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon have proven to be more than a handful for the Preds and as we saw Friday night are more than capable of stealing a victory on the back of their goaltending on the road in an environment every bit as loud and intimidating as Winnipeg has been

Winnipeg declared Friday night “We want Nashville.”

Colorado may yet be declaring “You get us.”

Which team do you *really* want to see the Jets take on in the second round?