Winnipeg celebrates first playoff win in 22 years

Andrew Cummings
April 14, 2018

The win gave the Jets a 2-0 lead in the first round of their NHL Western Conference best-of-seven playoff series. Last year, the Wild lost their first-round series to St. Louis in five games.

Little had said earlier in the day that he hoped his team could go up two-games-to-none against the more-experienced Wild. "But they're going to answer the bell and come hard at us".

The bottom line is the game like every other sport played, is a game of mistakes. Whether you get beat bad or whatever, you still have to win one and it doesn't matter if it's now, the fifth, or the seventh. Paul Stastny, Andrew Copp and Patrik Laine then turned it into a rout in the final period.

Winnipeg outshot Minnesota 13-4 in the scoreless first period.

"We stuck up for each other", Wild centre Eric Staal said.

"We're going to pull the sweep off".

Perreault was roughed up on multiple occasions during Game 1 on Wednesday before he ultimately left the ice for good after logging just 6:52 of ice time.

"We've got to find it now", said Mikko Koivu, of the famous hockey family from Turku, Finland.

"When you're a smart defenseman like that, I know he's a big boy, but the way he plays is very smart and the way he uses his body is very smart so it's tough to get on the forecheck". Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck racked up 18 saves.

Byfuglien (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) played 23:51, the most for Winnipeg, had three shots on goal, eight hits and three blocked shots.

The Jets committed their own fair share of mistakes in game one and most notably was their lackadaisical puck control in their own zone.

"We've got to play a lot better than we have in the first two", Parise said. "I still think I can come away and have a better game". "You're not going to win like that".

Vegas won by the closest margin of any home team in Game 1, as it eked out a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves for the Jets, who finished second overall in the National Hockey League and Central Division with 114 points (52-20-10).

Winnipeg, which had 40 shots in the series opener, reached that mark with about seven minutes remaining in the second game.

Minnesota's Mat Dumba, Head Coach Bruce Boudreau's chosen replacement for injured defensive stalemate Ryan Suter, spent an astonishing 9:35 on the ice in the opening frame for the visitors - a benchmark just shy of two minutes more than the Jets' icetime leader, Ben Chiarot.

So it took less than five minutes of the third period for the teams to combine for three goals.

With an attacking confidence behind it, Winnipeg should produce a similar performance as it attempts to take a two-game advantage.

"You don't really have that much time to think", Elliott said when asked what his mindset was on that play. And the Capitals went into the playoffs with goaltender problems - something Blue Jackets definitely did not have with Sergei Bobrovsky on top of his game.

Six different players accounted for Winnipeg's first six goals in the postseason before Laine scored with 2:02 left for his second goal of the series.

By the start of the third period, the Jets held a 27-14 shot advantage, and the Wild clearly would have been in an even deeper hole if Dubnyk had not played so well.

Myers was dinged again for roughing forward Charlie Coyle 33 seconds after his goal, but the Jets kept the pressure on with some hustle and hits.

That new confidence was shockingly apparent in the second period, when the Jets completely took over the game.

Stastny and Copp scored 1:42 apart, with Byfuglien sending a backhander to the front of the net that Statsny slapped in at 7:42.

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