Winnipeg Jets: Three Talking Points as The Jets Lose Game One 5-3

Winnipeg Jets, Connor Hellebuyck #37, (Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets, Connor Hellebuyck #37, (Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Winnipeg Jets opened their second round playoff series with Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at Bell MTS Place with a 5-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

The only good news on the evening for the Jets was that for the first time since March 2020 they had fans in attendance. 500 fully vaccinated front-line medical workers were allowed into the Bell MTS Place to create a mini white out for game one of round two of the playoffs.

As suspected, the Canadiens came out flying and the Jets were unable to recover from a dismal first period where they went down 3-1.

The Winnipeg Jets face an uphill battle Friday night for game two given the injuries they sustained and a likely suspension coming for Mark Scheifele.

Here are three talking points from yesterday’s game one loss to the Canadiens.

3. Rest Versus Rust

There was much discussion about how the Jets would fare given that they had not played a game in nine days since eliminating the Edmonton Oilers. On the one hand, the break gave them a lengthy period to recover and rest. On the other hand, the fear was they could come out flat.

Unfortunately the fears that the team would be rusty after such a lengthy break came true. The Canadiens carried over the intensity and energy they had coming out of the Maple Leafs series.

The first period ended with the Habs leading 3-1 and the Jets looking lethargic and confused. The Jets woke up in the second and third periods, but it was too little too late as the Canadiens were in control the entire game.

2. Injuries to Key Jets Players

The narrative of being the more healthy, rested team ended just before puck drop on Wednesday night when the team announced that Paul Stastny would not play due to an undisclosed injury. Postgame Paul Maurice confirmed that Stastny is listed as day-to-day with an injury that was not caused by a specific incident.

Early in the first period top pair defenseman Dylan DeMelo got tangled up with Brendan Gallagher in the Habs end and appeared to injure his ankle. DeMelo did not return to the game and Maurice indicated postgame that he would be re-evaluated Thursday.

Losing the second best center Stastny and the best shut down defenseman DeMelo are a huge hurdle for the Jets to overcome. Dominic Tonitato was added to the lineup on the fourth line, meaning that the team needed Pierre Luc Dubois to play like a true top-six center, which he has not done this season.

If DeMelo is out expect veteran Jordie Benn to step into the lineup. Benn is better suited to a bottom pair role so I would suspect that Tucker Poolman moves up to the top pair.

This is not even considering the biggest potential loss for the Jets with an almost certain suspension coming for the Jets’ top center Mark Scheifele.

1. Pending Suspension For Mark Scheifele

First, our thoughts are with Canadiens forward Jake Evans hoping that he makes a full recovery and can return to the lineup as quickly as possible.

I am not going to post a video of the Mark Scheifele hit as you’ve likely seen it and it is hard to watch. Mark Scheifele’s hit on Jake Evans was a bad decision and a dangerous play. Scheifele received a charging major, a game misconduct, and should receive some type of suspension for the play.

Scheifele was visibly frustrated all game and is not a player with a reputation for this type of play. The Jets pulled their goalie and scored to bring the game within one goal with less than two minutes remaining. With less than a minute left, goalie still pulled, Scheifele was backchecking hard to prevent the Canadiens from putting the game out of reach with an empty net goal.

That’s what you are supposed to do. What you are not supposed to do is let your frustration take over to the point that you do something reckless and dangerous to another player. That is what Scheifele did.

There is no defending Scheifele’s hit on Evans, and unfortunately this may end up costing the Jets the series.

Game two of the series is Friday night at 6:30 p.m. central time at Bell MTS Place.

Winnipeg Jets Fans: What is your plan for the Winnipeg Jets next game given their injuries and pending Scheifele suspension? Leave your comments below!

Next. Winnipeg Jets Sign Manitoba Moose’s Leading Scorer. dark

*All Stats and Videos Provided by the NHL*