It was a hard fought series between these two clubs, but it definitely wasn’t a hard fought game as the Jets were clearly out-matched from the very first shift. It took less than a minute for the Blues to get on the board and they never looked back as they acquired a three goal lead throughout the night. Winnipeg had absolutely zero push-back until it was far too late as they added a few late goals and almost made it interesting. With such a poor effort to end the season, there were many things that deserved a thumbs down and only one person deserved a thumbs up.
Thumbs up to Connor Hellebuyck. Let’s start with the only positive aspect of the game. Connor Hellebuyck was absolutely sensational from the very beginning. He got no help from his teammates and had to make save after save to keep the score close. The first goal didn’t look the greatest, but I’m not sure what you can expect when Byfuglien is falling back into the crease. The second goal also wasn’t his fault as it was clearly goaltender interference that led to the open net. Lastly, the third goal came from a two on one where Schwartz was able to find a hole in the blocker. Even though three got past him, Hellebuyck was clearly the best player for Winnipeg in game six.
Thumbs down to everything else. Beyond Hellebuyck, there really wasn’t anything else that went well for the Jets. Winnipeg mustered only one shot one goal in the entire second period and they were clearly out-worked and out-played. St. Louis controlled the pace, the shots, and the chances through the first fifty minutes of the game. It wasn’t until the final moments that Winnipeg actually had some chances on goal. They managed to score a couple late goals and almost made it interesting, but it was far too late to make a comeback.
Thumbs down to the early challenge. At the time of the challenge, it seemed like a decent move by Maurice. There was a little bit of contact as Schwartz came across the crease and it also caused a nice delay to reset the team. It was used essentially as a timeout to get the Jets back into the game. Unfortunately this backfired in more ways than one. First of all, the Jets didn’t get their legs under them and the Blues kept coming shift after shift. It got worse in the second period as Hellebuyck was interfered with on the second goal but Maurice wasn’t able to challenge the play. It would have certainly been called back had Maurice been able to challenge the play. It was the kind of game where nothing was going right for the Jets.
Thumbs down to the end of the season. It almost seems surreal at the moment. For some reason, even with all of the pessimism surrounding the Jets heading into the playoffs, it seemed as though Winnipeg would find a way to pull it out in round one. With the playoffs so wide open this year, it could be any team that wins the cup. Unfortunately it won’t be the Jets this time around as they will be searching for answers all summer long.
It definitely wasn’t the way Winnipeg planned to go out as they loaded up at the trade deadline with the hopes of a long playoff run. It fizzled out far too quickly as the Jets were an enigma for much of the season. It was a very rocky road all season that leaves many questions to be answered in summer. Those will be answered at a later date as the Jets leave St. Louis in frustration.