Despite what I believe was a missed opportunity by the Winnipeg Jets to shake up their coaching staff prior to the playoffs, a heathy and motivated Jets squad do have a number of the right pieces in place. How they are used will be the big question. The goaltending has shown to be solid most nights; Connor Hellebuyck can win the big ones when he wants to. Mark Scheifele has had a good year putting up 63 points in 56 games. I think the best chance the Jets have is if Nikolaj Ehlers returns to the line up at 100%. Ehlers is one of the best players in hockey at carrying the puck over the opponent’s blue line and his speed would create opportunities. I just can’t see Paul Maurice putting together a series winning game plan.
We know what Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can do and what they have done as the Oilers beat Winnipeg in seven of their nine meetings this past season. The Jets must neutralize those two powerhouses in order to have any kind of chance, something that the Jets defense hasn’t been able to do all year. The Jets have never recovered from the defection of Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot, and Jacob Trouba. Even Toby Enstrom would be an upgrade from what Winnipeg puts on the blueline. That’s on Chevy, Maurice must play the weak hand he has been dealt.
I’m as Winnipeg as they come, and I’ll be watching, but my expectations are very low and have been ever since Jets 1.0 blew it in 1990 after being up 3-1 in the Smythe Semi-Finals. I was in the Northlands Coliseum for game 5 (and game 7) and that broken heart has never healed.
Oilers in 5.