Semi-Instant Reaction: The Winnipeg Jets kick off their post-season with a crazy 7-6 win in game 1

Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
4 days ago
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My oh my, how was that for the Winnipeg Jets opening playoff game. That’s certainly one way to open up a playoff series against a divisional opponent. A few things right off the bat before I begin to summarize what was just a crazy 7-6 win for the Winnipeg Jets last night. You’ll notice that I put “semi-instant reaction” in the title, instead of “instant”, because I needed some extra time to process this absolute barn-burner of a game. Second, make sure you check out Goose’s article from today to see what he had to say about game 1. Finally, because because there was a whopping 13 goals last night I won’t be including every goal in this article, but I’ll make sure to include the key ones. Alright, on to the game itself!
I have to give a mention right off the bat to the Winnipeg Whiteout. Without even being there in person, I could feel the energy from the Winnipeg crowd both inside and outside Canada Life Centre. You knew that Winnipeg would show up and be ready for some playoff hockey.
The start of the game favoured the Colorado Avalanche, who started the game with 10 shots (to just 1 for the Jets) in the first 6 minutes. Valeri Nichushkin opened the scoring for the Avalanche just over 6 minutes into the game with an absolute snipe as he came in down the wing.
The Jets quickly responded with a goal of there own, as just under 2 minutes later, Josh Morrissey got the Jets on the board. It might have only been the Jets 3rd shot on goal, but it was an accurate top corner shot from the point that Alexandar Georgiev had no chance at saving.
Morrissey’s goal got the crowd going again, and Vladislav Namestnikov rewarded the crowd’s energy with a go ahead goal off a pass in front. That was just the beginning of this game, and as you may have saw, there were many goals to come, including 3 more in the 1st period alone.
Miles Wood tied the game at 2 for the Avalanche after an unfortunate turnover by the Jets behind the net. The Avalanche used the momentum from the tying goal almost right away. After a failed clearance attempt, Nathan MacKinnon sniped one home to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead, just 18 seconds after tying the game.
If you thought the Jets were falling behind after that one, you’d be wrong. Mark Scheifele tied the game at 3 less than 1 minute later thanks to a great pass in front from Gabe Vilardi. That would be all the goals in the 1st, a grand total of 6, and the Avalanche led in shots 14-8.
Would the 2nd period be filled with just as many goals? Actually no, it wouldn’t. Only 1 goal was scored, but it was a big one from captain Adam Lowry. The Jets were getting badly outshot at that point still, the Avalanche with 22 to the Jets mere 9. But after Lowry’s goal, it would make that 4 goals on 10 shots for the Jets!
After Lowry’s go-ahead goal off that 2 on 1 where Lowry kept the puck and shot it past Georgiev, the energy was back in full force inside and outside the building. Avalanche fans probably were starting to question about if it was time for a goaltending change at that point. It was a bit of a tricky situation for them, as their young backup goalie Justus Annunen was ill. The backup then was their 3rd string goalie, Arvid Holm, a former 6th round pick by the Winnipeg Jets back in 2017. The Avalanche must have felt that they would stay with Georgiev in night for game 1 no matter how many goals were let in.
On to the 3rd period now, and I have to say, it matched the wild energy that happened back in the 1st period. It all began just 3 minutes into to the 3rd, where Adam Lowry scored to give the Jets a 5-3 lead. What stands out about this goal wasn’t so much how it was scored, but rather how it crossed the line. Rather than trying to explain it in detail to you, take a look for yourself.
When people say hockey is a game of inches, that’s what they’re referring to right there. That puck just crossed the line, and good thing it did, as it would give the Jets momentum early into the 3rd. Kyle Connor got his name on the score sheet with a one-timer on the powerplay to give the Jets a 6-3 lead 6 minutes into the 3rd.
Jets fans had to be feeling pretty good at that point. I mean come on, up 6-3 in a playoff game at home, what could be better than that? Well, that wasn’t the end of things for the Avalanche one bit. Not even 1 minute later Arturri Lehkonen responded with an Avalanche powerplay goal, making it 6-4.
Another quick response for the Jets, as under 3 minutes later, Kyle Connor got another one, making it 7-4 Jets. A great play set up by Vilardi and Scheifele to get Connor the puck in front and he made no mistake about this one.
Now it’s 7-4 halfway through the 3rd period, but Jets fans couldn’t celebrate just yet. Cale Makar brought the Avalanche back to within 2 with another powerplay goal. The Jets continued to get badly outshot, especially in the 3rd. Connor Hellebuyck made more than his share of big saves, showcasing why he is one of the elite goaltenders in the league.
The Avalanche didn’t go out with a fight, that’s for certain. After pulling the goalie, the Avalanche got a few chances before Casey Mittelstadt batted one home from in front, making it 7-6 Jets. That would be all after that one though, as the Jets held on for a wild 7-6 win to take a 1-0 series lead.
Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele led the Jets with 3 points each. Cale Makar led the Avalanche with 3 points. Despite a lot of goals on both sides, the difference in this game was the goaltending. Hellebuyck may have allowed 6 goals, but he made 40 saves on 46 shots to help the Jets get the win. The goals came at the right time all game long for the Jets, and Avalanche starter Alexandar Georgiev allowed 7 goals on just 23 shots.
There’s no telling where this series will go from here after a 13 goal opening game. Questions will be asked for both teams in terms of how they will approach the next game, and it’ll be interesting to see if any lineup changes are made for either team.
The Jets will look to take a 2-0 series lead tomorrow night at Canada Life Centre. The Winnipeg Whiteout will be back in full force, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the game plays out after such an action packed opening game 1.


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