Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Jets win first National Hockey League playoff game since returning to Winnipeg

Jets win first National Hockey League playoff game since returning to Winnipeg

Minnesota scored twice in the first 3:58 of the 3rd period to take a 2-1 lead, but the Jets got a goal from Patrik Laine (45th) just 53 seconds later to tie it and then it was Joe Morrow, who put them ahead for good at the 12:47 mark of the final period with his 7th of the year.

The Jets outshot the Wild 14-5 in the second period - taking a 1-0 lead on Tyler Myers' goal at 8 minutes, 41 seconds - and made Minnesota look the kid brother that wants to play in the game but ends up running home crying. The Jets have won the first two games of the series at home. "It's a loud building".

"We went over some video today", said defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who offered some words of encouragement for Soucy. Small speedsters may be fine all season long, but come springtime guys like Byfuglien can change a game, as his mighty hits and thunderous presence did in Game 2.

The Wild will need to pick things up considerably in order to start matching the Jets. Getting the puck through the neutral zone to form any kind of attack was a real chore, with numerous Wild's offensive threats thwarted before they got going. "We said if we play that same way with that same intensity and talent level, we can beat anyone". Because nobody could hear his whistle, the play went on for 20 seconds before the linesman got the attention of one of the referees.

The Jets continue to explore uncharted territory.

Nobody is sitting back and enjoying the 2-0 lead, despite what the historical trends indicate.

"You'd have to be blind not to see if, especially with Canadian TV everywhere", Boudreau said when asked about the underdog role.

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This was different. They now had a win, their first, in the National Hockey League postseason.

"For the most part we are going to do what we did all season out there, take the pressure off our players, just go out there, play and see what happens", said Gallant, who added the Golden Knights were close to having everyone available for the playoffs, in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer during the final weekend of the regular season.

Slowly, calmly, the Jets returned to the form they had shown in the third period of Game 1 when they came from behind to claim victory. The goal - Myers' first of the playoffs - brought the Winnipeg crowd to its collective feet, and remained the difference in the game - for the foreseeable future. Still, the fans here say they think their team will pull out a win. "It was pretty unreal to skate on the (playoff) ice for the first time", said Laine. "So we're going to have to be aware of that". In the series, the Jets have outshot the Wild 83-37 and the shot attempts are 152-87.

Perreault scored 17 goals and 39 points in 70 games for Winnipeg this season.

Blake Wheeler was certain the second game would be different.

Frankly, everywhere the 63-year-old coach looks, he is being told how the Wild don't have a chance in the best-of-seven series. "He played very, very well for us, didn't score, and that seemed to draw a lot of the concern but his game was good", said Maurice. "Our forwards have been extremely hard in not giving them any clean ice to make passes on breakouts and when they're skating and really in the right position and all over the puck, it makes it easier for our D to stay up and have a good gap as well".

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