Well that’s it. The Winnipeg Jets have gotten themselves a first-ever series win for the franchise. They take it over the Minnesota Wild in five games. The Jets have moved past the division semi-finals in spectacular fashion. With all facets of their team showing off from game to game.
Winnipeg Jets Down Minnesota Wild for First Ever Series Win
Winnipeg’s Strengths Prevail
In the series preview, it was said that that the Jets strengths of relentless offence against the Wild’s sturdy defense would come out on top. It helped that Ryan Suter didn’t play at all in this series and that Zach Parise was out for two games. The players with twin contracts were to be key to the Wild’s success. With that said, Winnipeg fired on all cylinders and, other than in the single loss, Connor Hellebuyck didn’t allow more than two goals in any game and put up two shutouts. He performed significantly better than his save percentage suggests. The Jets also showed that they can score as well as play defense claiming low scoring victories, as well as ones where the offence was dominant.
Building From The Ground Up
It was inevitable for the Jets to reach this feat eventually. With such a strong core of young players, such as Jacob Trouba, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, and Connor Hellebuyck, the team was bound to eventually pick up the series win. The first year as the Jets, their leading scorer only had 64 points and finished in the bottom 10 of the league. Only four players that were NHL regulars remain from that first-year roster, as well as Mark Scheifele who played in just seven games. After a complete overhaul of the team, they are finally where they had always hoped to be. The Jets continually worked to improve their roster by drafting skill rather than size. The evidence for this lies in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, where they selected forward Nikolaj Ehlers over a big bodied Nick Ritchie who was taken just one pick later.
Evenly Matched Power Plays
The Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild, coming into this series, each took a lot of penalties and each played effectively on the man advantage. This clearly showed through the five games played with each team sporting a 23.1 power play percentage. For Minnesota to keep up with the Jets is admirable in its own right where coming into the playoffs, who had been riding a hot power play all season. With that, it means they had evenly matched penalty kill percents, at 76.9. For the Jets to break through the defence with top pairing players like Mathew Dumba and Jared Spurgeon.
The Top Players Stepped Up
Captain Mikko Koivu stepped up for the Wild, where he led the team in playoff scoring. But it was the Jets, who had their star players perform to expectations. Scheifele, Laine, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, and trade deadline acquisition Paul Stastny were the top five players for the Jets in scoring. The fact that the Jets had a defenseman in their top five scoring shows the depth that was instrumental to their win. For the Wild, Zach Parise had three goals in three games, prior to his injury that greatly impacted the Wild offence. Injuries derailed the Wilds hope for a deep playoff run this year.
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