Stanley Cup Playoffs: Minnesota Wild vs. Winnipeg Jets Preview

The first ever playoff meeting between these two franchises comes less than 20 years after either was formed.

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(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky)

Eventually potential has to lead to results – Winnipeg is a prime example of a team drafting well and then developing those players to make a scarily deep team. This past summer Kevin Cheveldayoff was seemingly given one more year to turn his perennial lottery side into a force and the Jets finally look like the team so many hockey experts predicted them to be.

Minnesota have spent the last few years being pretty good but not playoff good. The Wild desperately need a good cup run this spring or there could be significant changes over the summer. Every year since 2012 this team has made the playoffs but they have never been past the second round – maybe this could be their year?

Season series:

Jets win 3-1-0
Oct. 20: Jets 4, Wild 3
Oct. 31: Jets 2, Wild 1
Nov. 27: Jets 7, Wild 2
Jan. 13: Wild 4, Jets 1

Top Scorers: 

Is there a more exciting goalscorer in the NHL at the moment than Patrik Laine? The Finnish sniping sensation has netted 44 goals this season and looks like Alex Ovechkin mark 2.0. Blake Wheeler is the team’s top points getter, and he has put up 91 points this season.

Eric Staal has been quietly good this season having scored 42 goals. His 76 points also make him the teams top point getter.

Players to watch:

Mark Scheifele may have missed 22 games through injury this season – but that could be a blessing in disguise as he should be physically and mentally rested before the chaos of the playoffs. His 60 points in 60 games make him a point per game player and the Wild will need to throw their best shut-down men at his line if they want to keep him quiet. 

26-year-old Jason Zucker has plenty of playoff experience and he will hope to finally have a successful postseason run this year. His 33 goals and 64 points make him a dangerous player and he can do damage on the power play.

Outlook

The Jets are such a loaded side who can match any team in the league. But what do they lack? Playoff experience. Obviously, they have players who have played in the playoffs before, but the team has a lot of younger guys who haven’t experienced the intensity of a playoff series.

Minnesota, on the other hand, are a team that most expect to fall out of the playoffs early doors but they have bundles of experience. Could it be that the Jets are outsmarted by the Wild? 

Pick:

I think this series will go the distance. The Wild are no pushover and have the experience edge over the powerful Jets. That being said though, it is hard to see past Winnipeg in this series. The Jets take it in six games.

Schedule

Game Date Contest Time (ET) TV
1 Wed, Apr 11 Wild at Jets 7 p.m. CNBC, SN, TVA
2 Fri, Apr 13 Wild at Jets 7:30 p.m. USA, SN, TVA
3 Sun, Apr 15 Jets at Wild 7 p.m. USA, SN, TVA
4 Tue, Apr 17 Jets at Wild 8 p.m. CNBC, SN, TVA
5* Fri, Apr 20 Wild at Jets TBD TBD
6* Sun, Apr 22 Jets at Wild TBD TBD
7* Wed, Apr 25 Wild at Jets TBD TBD

*if necessary

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