Chronicle by François Gagnon | Jets: from the ball in white to the great darkness

Chronicle by François Gagnon | Jets: from the ball in white to the great darkness
Chronicle by François Gagnon | Jets: from the ball in white to the great darkness

WINNIPEG – True to form, Jets fans stormed downtown Winnipeg and the white-draped Canada Life Center early Tuesday evening.

This big ball in white aimed at motivating their favorites and helping them avoid elimination, however, faded to black a few hours later as the Jets suffered a fourth loss in a row at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche who eliminated them in five small parts.

An elimination which plunges the Jets and their supporters into great darkness.

” It’s sad! “, launched Josh Morrissey as his first comment after the 6-3 loss that he and his teammates had just suffered.

Pillar of the defensive brigade, Morrissey then took a long moment of reflection before continuing.

“This elimination is really difficult to take. She hurts me. I hope it hurts all of my teammates just as much so that this elimination serves as a lesson to us. That it will encourage us to work harder during the summer and to work harder next year in order to allow us to have success in the playoffs. We just played our best game of the series, but we have nothing positive to learn from it. »

It is true that the Jets played their best game of the series. A match that they started strongly, even scoring the first goal of the match.

Only problem: the Jets’ best hockey wasn’t enough to compete with the Avalanche’s best hockey. Truly not!

Dominated in all aspects of the game, the Jets were unable to deal with the repeated assaults of the Avalanche. This team was so tight defensively in the regular season – best defense in the NHL on a par with the Panthers with an average of 2.41 goals allowed per game – the Jets allowed 28 in five playoff games, including four scored in empty nets, which gives an average of 5.60 per game.

Hellebuyck makes history

Connor Hellebuyck, who will undoubtedly win the Vezina Trophy, saw his goals against average per game go from 2.39 in the regular season to 5.23 in five playoff games.

According to the specialist site OptaSTATS, Hellebuyck is the first goalie in NHL history whose average goals allowed per game more than doubled once in the series.

The goalkeeper refused to answer journalists’ questions after the game.

That said, attributing all the blame for this other quick playoff elimination of the Jets to Connor Hellebuyck’s “performance” alone would be unfair. Because if it is true that one of the best goalies in the NHL was not able to make the important saves that his team badly needed, it is also true that his teammates greatly complicated his work by being unable to contain enemy attacks.

The examples have multiplied over the five parts. But the Avalanche’s fifth goal on Tuesday night, a goal that gave Colorado a 5-3 lead and greatly undermined the Jets’ chances of a comeback, Nathan MacKinnon completely mystified Nino Niederreiter with his speed to orchestrate a two-man push against one at the end of which Mikko Rantanen scored his second of the match, his second of the series.

“The speed and intensity displayed by the Avalanche skyrocketed once they reached the playoffs. It was not the same club that we encountered in the regular season and that we beat 7-0 in the last match,” commented head coach Rick Bowness after his team’s fourth defeat.

“When you don’t have to put part of your body in ice to deal with the pain associated with taking hits in a playoff game, you haven’t worked hard enough.” , which Bowness added.

Bowness: return, retirement, dismissal?

Speaking of the Jets head coach, will he be back next year?

The question needs to be asked. After two quick eliminations of his team in the first round of the playoffs, he could be pushed out. Especially since the next year of his contract, a third of a three-year contract, is at the discretion of his bosses.

Aged 71, after a difficult season during which he had to be absent due to a stroke suffered by his wife and also a personal health problem – kidney stones – Bowness could also decide to retire.

Especially since he is the coach with the most games behind the bench of an NHL team if we take into account his years of service as head coach and also as assistant coach.

“We just got knocked out of the playoffs. These questions will be addressed from time to time,” he simply replied.

That said, Rick Bowness, although bitterly disappointed by the elimination of his club, took the setback much better than last year when his team was swept out of hand by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.

“The results are the same, but there is a world of difference between our performances. Last year, we didn’t show up. This year, we fought. We just played the best game of our series against the Avalanche. The best of the last two series in fact. I just think it’s a shame we weren’t able to get that kind of performance earlier. But when you look at what we’ve accomplished over the year, this team has taken big steps forward. There is still room for improvement. It’s clear. But we grew this year. The guys are disappointed. And it’s far from a bad thing that they are and that they are hurt by the outcome of the series. It will help them understand how much you have to be willing to go to another level to win in the playoffs. Our opponents have just shown us that,” concluded Bowness.

Sent into the fray for the first time in his career in the playoffs, Cole Perfetti played a good game.

Nervous during his first presences, the first round choice (10th selection) of the Jets in 2020, Perfetti then had good streaks within the different trios where he found himself.

This first experience will undoubtedly help him take up even more space next season with the Jets.

If the future is bright for Perfetti in Winnipeg, it seems much less so for Tyler Toffoli and Sean Monahan. Both acquired before the trade deadline, Toffoli and Monahan will be free agents on July 1.

Although he scored in a losing cause on Tuesday, Toffoli fell far short of fulfilling playoff expectations. He also made appearances within the fourth trio. As for Monahan, he performed well in the regular season, but his performance also took a nosedive once the playoffs began.

The many questions raised by this other poor performance by the Jets once the playoffs come will be answered over the coming weeks.

But it is hard to believe that the status quo will prevail.

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