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Photo Credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: The Run is Done

The Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Winnipeg Jets after a hard fought battle in game five at Bell MTS Place. The Jets struggled with the same issues all series long, and game five was no exception.

They took an early penalty to quell any momentum gained from playing back at home, then they allowed Vegas to gain the early lead a few minutes later. Just like every other game, the Jets would find the tying goal only to get scored on again and trail going into the third period. The Jets threw 32 shots on net but couldn’t get a second goal past Fleury who played great all game. The Jets fell short in this one and now have to move on with their summer while contemplating what they could have done differently. As for the actual game, there was plenty of ups and downs throughout. Here is the last thumbs up, thumbs down for the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

Thumbs up to the fans. Winnipeg Jets fans are one of a kind and support their team like no other. It was fantastic to see how a hockey team can bring an entire city together and command the entire province’s attention. I was driving through downtown in the evening after the game and I marveled at how every single business had signs and events related to the Jets. I’m sure the playoff run had significant impact on the economic side of downtown, but overall, it was just fun to be a part of.

 

Thumbs down to Hellebuyck’s backup mask. It was a stroke of irony when Hellebuyck had to switch masks in the second period. He just took a shot from Neal off the side of the mask and had to switch masks so the first one could get repaired. I didn’t think anything of it, but the announcers went on about how switching masks mid-game was such a big deal. Sure enough, the announcers were right and Hellebuyck allowed a goal on the first shot he faced with the new mask. The old mask was repaired after the goal and Hellebuyck switched back to his primary mask, but the damage was already done.

After playing very well in the first and second periods, Hellebuyck wearing the backup mask had a .000 sv%. If we only limit the numbers to the first mask, Hellebuyck had a .968 sv%. The ironic part was that Hellebuyck was finally playing up to the level that Fleury was. Both net minders were having great games and Hellebuyck looked equal to Fleury. It took an equipment malfunction to throw Hellebuyck off and with how the entire series went, it doesn’t really come as a surprise. Fleury could do nothing wrong all series and Hellebuyck couldn’t seem to catch a break.

 

Thumbs up to Jacob Trouba. It can be argued that Trouba is the Jets best defensemen. He doesn’t join the rush like Byfuglien or Myers, but he plays a consistent all-around game. Trouba was solid defensively in game five, but he also was strong in the offensive zone as well. When the Jets were pressing in third period he made a nice move along the boards to slip off a check and drive  hard to the net. He almost scored the goal himself, but he also drew a penalty against Marchessault. It was a great game for Trouba who is turning into the most dependable defensemen for the Jets.

 

Thumbs up and down to Josh Morrissey. It was a wild ride for Morrissey in the first period of game five. He started the game with a really bad turnover in the defensive end that led to the first Golden Knight goal. Morrissey was looking up ice and was trying to make a cross-rink pass when he should have made the easy play and thrown it up the boards. The problem is that if he had made the pass, no one would have thought twice about his decision. Regardless, he bounced it off a skate and Tuch made him pay.

While the game started off poorly for Morrissey, he turned it around later in the period when he scored a huge one timer off a faceoff win. Little pulled the puck back and Morrissey hammered it over Fleury’s arm and into the back of the net. Morrissey settled down after the first period, but he deserves both a thumbs up and thumbs down for his play.

 

Lastly, thumbs down to the power play. The Jets have had a great power play all season and playoffs but it failed them when they needed it the most. They went 0/4 on the day even though they generated quite a few chances. They were getting good entries from carrying the puck in and they didn’t have to rely on winning a battle in the corner to get possession. The issue was not getting enough shots as the both units couldn’t find any shooting lanes and passed the puck way too long. After going down by a goal the Jets had two separate power plays to try and tie the game. It doesn’t matter how well the power play sets up if they can’t find the back of the net. This hurt the Jets when it mattered the most as they ended up losing by only one goal.