Well, I think I can speak for just about all of us in saying that this was the least likely second-round matchup in the North Division. The Jets embarrassed the Oilers while the Canadiens fought back to send the Leafs packing. The home advantage goes to the Jets because they finished 3rd in the division while Montreal finished 4th.
The Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens played each other nine times during the regular season. The Jets managed to win the season series with a record of 6-3. But 3 of those wins came after regulation. In those nine-game, the Jets scored 31 goals while the Canadiens scored 28. The last time the two teams played was back on April 30th where the Canadiens grabbed a 5-3 victory.
The Jets completely shocked both the Oilers and the hockey world. In 4 games, the Jets sent the Oilers packing. Game one was a complete domination by the Jets with a 4-1 victory. Game two was a 1-0 overtime win, thanks to Paul Stastny. In Game 3, it looked like the Oilers were going to get themselves back in the series going up 4-1. But over the last 15 minutes of the game, the Jets scored 3 unanswered goals for OT, and Nikolaj Ehlers was the hero to put the Jets up 3 games to none. Game 4 saw a triple OT thriller, and it was Kyle Connor who put the puck past Mike Smith to give the Jets the series sweep.
In the four games the Jets played, they scored 14 goals while allowing only 8. Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele were the team’s leaders in points with 5 each. The Jets had 10 different goal scorers, with 4 guys getting multiple goals. Between the pipes, Connor Hellebuyck has been the best goalie in these playoffs. Out of 22 goalies that saw 1st round action, Hellebuyck is 1st with a 1.60 GAA and 1st with a .950 SV%. The Jets will need Hellebuyck to continue this success if they want to advance to the next round.
If there is anything that we learned is that the Leafs are the textbook definition of a choke artist. But we also learned that Carey Price is a playoff unit. The Canadiens were able to snag game one 2 to 1. The Leafs then won games 2, 3, and 4 looking to have a stranglehold on the series. But in game 5, with a chance to put the series away, the Leafs choked it away when Nick Suzuki scored in OT to keep the Canadiens alive. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was the game 6 overtime hero, and then it all came down to a game 7. Brendan Gallagher, Corey Perry, and Tyler Toffoli all lit the lamp for the Canadiens while William Nylander was the only Leaf to find the back of the net, giving the Canadiens a 3-1 victory in game 7.
In the series, the Leafs scored 18 goals while the Canadiens scored 14. Tyler Toffoli was the teams leading pint getter with 5 while Jesperi Kotkaniemi leads the team with 3 goals. The team will need to step up offensively if they want to beat the Jets this round. But if Carey Price continues to play like the superhuman, he is the Habs stand a chance. In the 7 games Price posted a 2.24 GAA with a .932 SV%.
This series will come down to which team has beet goalie play. Both Price and Hellebuyck are among the best in the game. This should be a relatively low-scoring series based on the elite level of goaltending and the struggle for the offense. The Jets seems like the logical pick at first glance because the Leafs should have buried the Habs when they had the chance. But the Canadiens are riding the momentum from a game seven victory, and they will ride it into the Conference Finals. Bugzy says Habs in 6.
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