On Monday night, the Montreal Canadiens were able to complete what was a shocking 4-0 series sweep over the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets came in feeling very confident after a sweep themselves over the Edmonton Oilers, a team who almost no one gave them a chance to beat.
While most learned their lessons from picking a ‘favorite’ after both the Oilers as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the first-round, the general consensus here was that the Jets were the better of the two teams headed into this series. However, the Canadiens, led by the incredible play of Carey Price, found a way to knock them off. Here are the 3 main reasons the Jets were eliminated.
3. Scheifele Suspension
With just a minute remaining in Game 1 of this series, Jets forward Mark Scheifele leveled Jake Evans with a vicious hit as the Canadiens forward wrapped in an empty net goal to seal the game. While fans seemed to be debating back and forth on whether or not the hit was dirty, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety clearly felt it was and gave him a very harsh four game suspension.
This was a tough pill for the Jets to swallow given that Scheifele’s 63 points led all Jets players on the season. He had also been one of the teams better players versus the Oilers, registering five points in four games. Without him, they lost not only their best offensive player, but one of the better producers in the entire league. While having him in the lineup likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome of this series, it certainly could have helped extend it.
He talked about how helpless he felt having to sit out the remainder of the series and watch his team lose the final three games. “You feel pretty helpless when your team is out there battling and you’re watching from the stands.”
2. Defensive Play
In their first-round series versus the Oilers, the Jets did a great job at taking time and space away from players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The thought was that if they were able to do that against two of the best players in the world, they’d have no problems with the Habs. For whatever reason, that turned out not to be the case, and resulted in Connor Hellebuyck often being hung out to dry.
For the last two years now, the Jets blueline has been questioned by many, and in this series it was apparent why. They lack top end talent on the back end outside of Josh Morrisey, and at the deadline didn’t do a lot to address this issue, choosing to only add Jordie Benn who was in and out of the lineup throughout the playoffs. Overall, their blueline was exposed in this series, and it resulted in goaltender Connor Hellebuyck often being left hung out to dry.
1. No Scoring to Be Found
Heading into the playoffs, one of the biggest threats the Jets possessed was their skill up front. Unfortunately, it didn’t show itself in the second round. While losing Scheifele certainly hurt, they still had great weapons in players like Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Kyle Connor, but none of them were able to create much damage. In fact, both Wheeler and Ehlers were without a point in the series.
Despite a lack of production, Wheeler talked about the fact he is very excited about the direction the team is heading, and believes that this team is a Stanley Cup contender with the current core. He says now it’s just about supplementing that core this off-season.
Another player many hoped could break out in the postseason was Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jets paid a heavy price to acquire him, trading away both Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, and the results so far haven’t been great. Not only did he struggle in the regular season, but he was at times a liability in the playoffs and finished with just three assists in seven games. He should be fine in the long run, but his first playoff performance in a Jets uniform was one to forget, and played a big role in why they were eliminated in such quick fashion by the Habs.
Upgrade Needed on the Blueline
Though the Jets aren’t regarded as a contender by most, their roster is pretty solid, particularly in net with Hellebuyck as well as some great pieces up front as mentioned above. However, until they can improve their blueline, they will likely continue to face issues moving forward. If general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is able to add a significant piece on the back end however, they could soon be seen as a contending team moving forward. This offseason will be a critical one for them.
/ 39 mins ago
The New Jersey Devils are rumored to be making a play for defenseman Dougie...
/ 5 hours ago
Reports are that Keith Yandle is narrowing down his options and intends to sign...
/ 7 hours ago
The Colorado Avalanche have signed Cale Makar to a six-year, $54 million contract extension...
/ 20 hours ago
Well the silence is over. Zach Hyman isn't signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs....
/ 21 hours ago
The Buffalo Sabres made their choice at this year's NHL Entry Draft and selected...
/ 23 hours ago
Carey Price underwent knee surgery on Friday and a timeline was revealed for his...
/ 1 day ago
Canucks and Coyotes make a trade involves Ekman-Larsson, Garland for multiple pieces and the...
/ 1 day ago
If the Edmonton Oilers are seriously looking at signing Tyson Barrie, an Ethan Bear...
/ 2 days ago
Ken Holland confirms the Edmonton Oilers have signed Mike Smith to a two-Year, $4.4...
/ 3 days ago
Reports are that the Seattle Kraken have elected to go with Jordan Eberle as...