0

2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Round 2: Three Storylines Heading into Game 2 of Jets vs. Canadiens

After falling 5-3 to the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of this second-round series, the Winnipeg Jets are hoping to bounce back strong in Game Two as they attempt to tie things up at one game apiece, although accomplishing that feat certainly won’t be easy.

Following a brutal hit on forward Jake Evans, MARK SCHEIFELE earned himself a four-game suspension and will be sidelined until Game Six, if this series reaches that far. Unfortunately for Winnipeg, his departure leaves a massive void at the top of their lineup and it’ll likely be extremely difficult to fill that loss, meaning someone will need to step up Friday night or this team could find themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the weekend.

Here are three storylines that could impact the second game of this playoff series between the Jets and Canadiens:

1. Paul Stastny Considered GTD, Likely to Return 

While Scheifele won’t be appearing in the next four games, veteran Paul Stastny, who missed Game One due to an undisclosed injury, could return to the lineup for the second game of this series against the Canadiens. After participating in the Jets’ optional skate Friday, coach Paul Maurice announced the 35-year-old is currently considered a game-time decision, however, it seems there’s a very strong chance he’ll make his return.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

If Stastny does indeed suit up for Game Two, it’s unclear as to where he’ll be positioned, but as of now, most signs are pointing to him skating alongside teammates Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler on the top line. That being said, it’s also possible the veteran center could return to the second line, which would allow forward Pierre-Luc Dubois to center the club’s first line.

2. Dylan DeMelo Sidelined For Extended Time 

Adding to Winnipeg’s difficult challenge, they’ll be without defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who left Game One and didn’t return following a 29-second shift, for the foreseeable future and will need to locate his injury replacement on the top defensive pairing. Though that remains a mystery right now, defenseman Neal Pionk briefly played alongside teammate Josh Morrissey towards the end of the regular season and reuniting this duo could become a possibility for Maurice and the coaching staff.

As an alternative option, veteran Tucker Poolman played several games on the top pairing earlier this season and could return to that role if needed, which would allow Pionk and Derek Forbort to remain together on the second pairing. Regardless of who skates alongside Morrissey, it’ll be crucial for the entire blue line to perform much more effectively this time around, particularly in the defensive zone and directly in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

3. Overcoming First-Period Adversities 

Considering the Jets came out extremely rusty in the opening frame of Game One, where they allowed three goals and were largely out played throughout the first 20 minutes, they’ll need to find a way to set the tone early on in Game Two and prevent those same woes from occurring once again. In particular, this team must dramatically improve during five-on-five situations, as they were out shot 11-4 in the first period of last game, and will also need to exit the defensive zone much more effectively this time around.

Since Montreal’s skaters came out firing on all cylinders last time out, it should be assumed they’ll be aiming to replicate that type of performance and it’ll be crucial for Winnipeg to match that same intensity out of the gate. Though this team won’t be playing at full strength, they’ve been forced to overcome challenging obstacles all season long and this postseason hasn’t been any different, meaning they’re fully capable of proving people wrong yet again.

Lineups:

Winnipeg Jets:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
LW C RW
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 79.5#5 LW

Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 C

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

Pierre-Luc Dubois
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

Rating: 74.6#38 C

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 71.1#96 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 69.2#149 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.5#123 RW

Dominic Toninato
DOMINIC TONINATO

Rating: 68.7#158 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 69.4#145 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 LD

Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN

Rating: 71.6#74 RD

Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

Logan Stanley
LOGAN STANLEY
Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN

Rating: 70.9#101 RD

Montreal Canadiens: 

LW C RW
Jake Evans
JAKE EVANS
Phillip Danault
PHILLIP DANAULT

Rating: 75.5#29 C

Brendan Gallagher
BRENDAN GALLAGHER

Rating: 78.3#7 RW

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 75.9#25 LW

Nick Suzuki
NICK SUZUKI
Cole Caufield
COLE CAUFIELD
Paul Byron
PAUL BYRON

Rating: 71.8#78 LW

Jesperi Kotkaniemi
JESPERI KOTKANIEMI
Josh Anderson
JOSH ANDERSON

Rating: 73.4#42 RW

Corey Perry
COREY PERRY

Rating: 70.8#101 LW

Eric Staal
ERIC STAAL

Rating: 74.2#45 C

Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA

Rating: 73.1#54 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT

Rating: 73.8#38 LD

Shea Weber
SHEA WEBER

Rating: 76.5#15 RD

Joel Edmundson
JOEL EDMUNDSON

Rating: 73.8#39 LD

Jeff Petry
JEFF PETRY

Rating: 76.7#13 RD

Brett Kulak
BRETT KULAK

Rating: 73.4#46 LD

Erik Gustafsson
ERIK GUSTAFSSON

Rating: 72.9#43 RD

Where to Watch/Listen:

The puck will drop at 6:30 pm CT – don’t be late – and be available on CBC/SN along with 680 CJOB.