Canadian-Jets Series: an unprecedented face-to-face
Fans of both teams cannot dig for numbers or rehash old memories to justify any ascendancy over the rival formation or the quest for sweet revenge.
It is therefore essential to fall back on the results observed during the last season to try to make a head if ever little that they can still be of value.
First of all, let us remember that both the CH and the Jets caused surprises in the semi-finals of the North Division by eliminating the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers, despite being two first seeds.
Winnipeg, third in the division, posted a 6-3-0 record against the Habs this season, including three overtime and shootout wins. The Manitoba squad is trying to reach the four-quarter for the second time in four seasons.
Montreal has not made the association final in seven years and is entering the second knockout round for the first time in six years.
Between the posts
On an individual level, there are many who make this all-new series a direct confrontation between goalkeepers Connor Hellebuyck and Carey Price.
Against the Oilers, Hellebuyck (4-0) was very strong to contain Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and company. In doing so, he recorded a 1.60 goals-against average, .950 save rate and one shutout.
During the season, he appeared in every Jets game against the Bleu-blanc-rouge, averaging 2.67 and shooting efficiency at .916. Laurent Brossoit only came in relief once, yielding three times in a 7-1 loss.
Price (4-3) was smoking to allow the Canadian to erase a 1-3 series delay against Toronto by frustrating Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The 33-year-old veteran posted an average of 2.24 and a save rate of .932.
However, he only played four of the nine games of the season against the Jets, during which he recorded two wins, two losses, one of them in overtime. His more impressive stats show an average of 3.01 and an efficiency rating of .903, data light years away from his performance since the start of the playoffs.
Jake Allen for his part posted a return of 1-1-2, an average of 3.36 and a rate of .880.
Shared offensive production
The attacks of the Jets and the Habs also show many similarities. Both are able to take the adversary on the wrong foot to take advantage of the slightest failure.
In season, on the Winnipeg side, Kyle Connor was the most prolific against Montreal with six goals and four assists. Nikolaj Ehlers went there with four goals and four assists, while veteran Paul Statsny scored five times.
It will also be necessary to count on the presence of Pierre-Luc Dubois acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Patrick Laine.
In the Montreal camp, Tyler Toffoli provided the response with six goals and three assists. Nick Suzuki (3-4-7) and Tomas Tatar (1-6-7) also contributed.
The latter, however, was left out in the last two games of the series against the Leafs, and it is questionable if he will see some action again without any injuries to replace.
In the playoffs so far, Jets captain Blake Wheeler has led the way with two goals and three assists in four games, exactly the same record as Toffoli with Montreal in seven games.
Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, (one goal each in overtime) Cole Caufield and Jake Evans played a major role for the Canadian against the Leafs.
The advantage of freshness
Of course, the question of the state of the troops is also on everyone’s lips knowing that Winnipeg has had a whole week to heal small and big ailments and to polish its preparation for the division final.
As there are always two setbacks to a medal, some, like coach Dominique Ducharme, believe that it will be easier for his troops to maintain and set the pace at the start of the next game than for the Jets to restart the game. machine.
The Canadian is counting on several veterans who have already dipped their lips in the cup with other teams. If the experience of Corey Perry, Eric Staal and Joel Edmundson has proven to be useful in keeping the team afloat, it will be interesting to see if all the old legs can keep up.
The same question arises about the defensive brigade, especially for the duos formed by Ben Chariot and Shea Weber, then Jeff Petry and Edmundson, more than widely used in the sixth and seventh games against Toronto.
On the Jets side, we expect a lot from Josh Morrissey and his partner Dylan DeMelo. They did wonders against the Oilers. This factor is likely to weigh even more heavily as the first four games of the Canadian-Jets series will be played in the space of six days.
We must also consider those who will be in a country of knowledge by facing their former team. We think of Nathan Beaulieu and Nate Thompson for the Jets, as well as Chariot and Joel Armia for the CH.
And there is the crowd. Already, fans had access to the Bell Center last Saturday. They were 2,500 for the first time since March 12, 2020.
History does not say whether Quebec’s public health will allow them to come in greater numbers.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that 500 fully immunized healthcare workers will attend games on Wednesday and Friday.
The first answers will be provided starting Wednesday night after the game at Bell MTS Place, starting at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).
Series Schedule (EDT):
- Game 1 – Wednesday June 2, at Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m.
- Game 2 – Friday June 4, at Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m.
- Game 3 – Sunday June 6, at Montreal, 6 p.m.
- Game 4 – Monday June 7, at Montreal, 8 p.m.
- Game 5 – Wednesday June 9, at Winnipeg, (if necessary)
- Game 6 – Friday June 11, at Montreal, (if necessary)
- Game 7 – Sunday June 13, at Winnipeg, (if necessary)