The Jets are moving on to the second round after beating the Minnesota Wild. Winnipeg moves on to round two of the postseason for the first time in franchise history. The Wild looked to be outclassed entirely throughout this entire series and never really stood a chance against a far superior Jets team.
As is the theme with most of these series’, Connor Hellebuyck put out a fantastic series in net. He did have a hiccup in game three when he had to be pulled in a 2-6 loss, but in his other four games, he looked completely in control.
Hellebuyck posted a goals-against average of 1.93 with a .924 save percentage. Connor finishes the series on a high note, posting his first shutout of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Going into a probable series against the Nashville Predators the goaltending for Winnipeg could be the difference maker.
Star of the Series: Dustin Byfuglien
Byfuglien’s presence was felt on the ice all series long. Dustin looked like a man amongst boys against the Minnesota Wild as he laid countless bone-crunching hits. His 25 hits in this series have him ranked second among all players in the NHL this season, but his dominance does not stop there.
Mark Scheifele and Byfuglien lead the Jets in scoring this series with five points each, with all five of Byfuglien’s points coming from assists.
One thing he will have to work on moving on to round two will be staying out of the box. As the Jets move deeper into the playoffs, the power plays of teams tend to become a lot sharper. Byfuglien will hope to cut his 14 minutes of penalty time to help his team succeed. His physical presence completely changed this series, but he needs to be more under control against better teams.
Winnipeg is most likely going to have to take on the Nashville Predators. A team they were 2-3-0 against during the regular season. Nashville’s offense overwhelmed the Jets defense in the regular season, scoring four or more goals in four of the five games they played.
That is where Connor Hellebuyck comes into play. Hellebuyck showed why he is a Vezina candidate against the Wild, but he did have the one bad game. The Predators offense is far superior to that of the Wild’s, and if Hellebuyck is off, even a little, they will exploit it and dominate.
How Far Will the Jets Go?
The Jets have all the tools to go all the way to the Stanley Cup, but the issue for them is that every team left does as well. Winnipeg is going to have to have things go their way to make it.
Every little thing during games matters a lot more. The rest of the postseason lies in how hard coach Paul Maurice can get these guys to play. They will have to win at least one game on the road this next series, so they won’t have a crowd to rely on. The Jets can do it, but they need to be locked in.
Featured image by: TSN
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