For the first time in history, the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets will meet in the NHL playoffs.
— NHL (@NHL) April 6, 2018
Who doesn’t love the Stanley Cup Playoffs? It’s 2 months of pure adrenaline and usually staying up until 12:30 am because one of the late games is guaranteed to go to double overtime. Couple that with the weather getting hotter and the days getting longer and you got a happy guy right here.
So for the Wild, this is probably the team we least wanted to run into first round if we’re being honest. Winnipeg has had our number this season, with the Jets winning 3 out of the 4 meetings in the regular season. The only silver lining there is we won the last meeting (momentum….right?).
Now the Winnipeg Jets have had a REALLY good regular season. Like 110 points good. They are second in the NHL in goals scored and in powerplay percentage. They score a lot of goals to put in simply. They have this young player called Patrik Laine, you might have heard of him. He was 44 goals this season and he’s 19 years old. Get used to seeing #29 for the Jets on the ice plenty with the puck on his stick in this series.
The craziest thing about this? He’s not even the best player points wise on his team this season. That honor belongs to Minnesota native Blake Wheeler, who’s just straight up having a career season. Wheeler, who’s got the sweet twitter handle as Biggie Funk, has 22 goals and 89 total points this season. 89!!! The former Golden Gopher is a legit Hart Trophy candidate and is the backbone of the team. I feel bad I have to hate him for the next couple teams, but it’s just business.
That’s really just the surface of this team. They have a rookie with 30 goals this season in Kyle Connor. They traded for Paul Statsny at the deadline. They have Big Buff and Jacob Trouba on the back end. They have a young goalie in Connor Hellebuyck who’s having a great season. The only thing with Hellebuyck is that he’s never played in a playoff game before. So hopefully we catch him with some playoff jitters.
What do the Wild need to do to win this series? They need to do what every single team needs to do when upsetting a higher seed. They need to have Dubnyk steal AT LEAST one game, most likely two. We have to hope Hellebuyck has an off game and we shell him. We need to score on the powerplay when we get the opportunities. We’re also going to have to win an overtime game most likely. That’s what killed us against the Blues last postseason. 0-2 in overtime games, that will kill you every single time.
The loss of Ryan Suter is huge and it can’t be understated. That being said, it’s not impossible to win. In a weird way I feel better about this series than last year against St. Louis. I just had a bad vibe going against our former head coach and we weren’t exactly playing well at the end of last season. It seems like this season is different. We didn’t back into the playoffs, we couldn’t afford to. When the Wild had to get points in the final two weeks, they did almost every game. That’s with going down 1-0 six straight games or something crazy like that, this team has some resiliency around them. I can get behind that.
Who’s ready for some playoff puck? #BecauseItsTheCup