Rss

We’ve now crossed the point where the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs should have begun. Would the Jets have been in it had the season not have taken a hiatus? Unfortunately, we will never know the answer to that question although the team did seem to be hitting their stride at the right time. Instead of discussing this year’s potential playoffs, let’s take a look at the last two playoff runs, specifically the games going on around this time.

Spoiler alert, there’s one happy memory and one sad one. Let’s get the bad one out of the way first.

It’s April 12, 2019. The Jets are coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss in game one against the Blues. Winnipeg opened the scoring in the series, but they allowed two straight goals in the third period to lose game one. The stage is set for game two with Winnipeg desperately wanting a victory to even up the series.

It ended up being a wild game with tons of back and forth action. The Blues opened the scoring just five minutes in, but Wheeler tied the game up later in the period. It was Winnipeg’s turn to take the lead in the second as Laine scored in back to back games. That lead was short lived as the Blues managed to score twice in just over three minutes to steal the lead back.

The Jets evened the game once again before the second period ended as Scheifele scored on the powerplay. The game now tied, it was all up for grabs in the third period.

Much like game one, the Jets weren’t able to score in the third period and they once again allowed the Blues to get the game winner. This time it was Ryan O’Reilly who broke the tie in the third period and it was a completely deflating goal. From far away and an easy angle, somehow the puck made it’s way through Hellebuyck and into the back of the net. That ended up being the goal to send the Blues back home up 2-0 in the series. The series obviously didn’t end there, but going down 2-0 was a tough feat to try and come back from.

As mentioned above, let’s get this bad memory out of the way first. We know that’s what happened one year ago today, but what happened two years ago on this day? Well, actually nothing happened. While the Jets may have had a day off, the city was absolutely buzzing as they had just witnessed the first playoff victory in franchise history.

April 11, 2018, the Winnipeg Jets took the ice against the Minnesota Wild for game one in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets had been to the playoffs before, but everyone knows how that ended. With a 4-0 sweep a few years earlier at the hands of the Ducks, the Jets weren’t going to let that happen a second time. On home ice, in front of a packed, whiteout stadium, the Jets managed to win their first ever playoff game.

But just how exactly did the game unfold?

Well it definitely wasn’t a masterpiece as the Jets were the clear favourite but struggled out of the gate. It took until the 37th minute of the game before the first goal was finally scored. Scheifele scored on the powerplay and provided one of my favourite highlights of all time.

Why did I personally love that goal so much? Yes, it was a huge goal for the team and the franchise, but it wasn’t particularly flashy. However, the reason why I love the clip is because of the reaction from the crowd. Specifically, the final angle from the far end of the ice shows two fans erupting their bags of popcorn in pure elation. That moment will always stick out and remind me of the passion that Winnipeg has for their team. (You can see the clip at 2:00)

Things weren’t all smooth sailing after getting the lead. Winnipeg gave up two straight goals in the third and Bell MTS Place was getting awfully nervous. Laine managed to score the tying goal later in the third period, but with the game tied, it could go either way. The game needed a hero to step up and make a difference. It’s funny how being a hero works sometimes. If I gave the average hockey fan 15 guesses of who scored the game winning goal, there’s no way they’re guessing correctly.

If you are a casual fan, you might not even recognize the name, but the one and only Joe Morrow was the king of the city that night. His slapper from the point somehow ended up in the back of the net and it sent the Jets to their first every playoff victory in franchise history. This game will live in the history books forever as a franchise first, and it all happened because of Joe Morrow. Some things in hockey just can’t be explained.

So there you have it. Do you remember both of these games? The biggest thing that stuck out to me while watching these highlights is the amount of roster turnover there has been since 2018. Seeing the likes of Byfuglien, Trouba, Myers, Chiarot, and Tanev brings back some great memories throughout their careers with the team. The current version of the Jets looks much different than the past two years and it will be really interesting to see how the team shapes up over the next few seasons.

Even though we can’t watch the 2020 playoffs at the moment, it’s always fun to reminisce and bring back the memories of a few previous seasons.