The Stanley Cup playoffs prove that goals are important but when those goals come are crucial. Through the first 3 games, Winnipeg and Minnesota had the same numbers of goals, though the Jets had a 2-1 edge. The Wild scored 6 goals in Game 3 but not enough goals to make up the difference in the first 2 games.
The Jets outscored the Wild 7-0 in the final 2 games to win the series.
This was the first Winnipeg playoff series win since April 16, 1987. The Jets beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 before losing 4-0 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers.
The Winnipeg Jets will face Nashville in the second round to determine the "Norris" winner. The Jets concede home ice to Nashville.
Patrik Laine wasn't much of an offensive force in the first round. Minnesota focused on Laine opening up room for other Winnipeg players. That offense versatility will help the Jets in the playoffs. Connor Hellebuyck has been very strong in goal, especially with back-to-back shutouts.
The winter weather in April played havoc with Game 3 of the Winnipeg Jets series in St. Paul. The weather was also treacherous in Toronto for Game 3. Their Blue Jays neighbours at Rogers Centre had to postpone a baseball game inside a domed stadium since ice pellets from the CN Tower poked a hole in the roof.
Though the Maple Leafs did well in Game 3, the fans couldn't join them in Maple Leaf Square. So when you didn't see crowd shots on NBCSN, that was because there was no crowd.
The crowd was out there for Game 4 in Toronto, but you wouldn't know this from watching NBCSN. The NHL Network matinee rebroadcast allowed U.S. viewers to see the CBC feed with plenty of outside shots. Surprisingly, Game 5 from Boston on NBC showed a few shots of Maple Leaf Square.
All the anthems have aired in the Toronto series but NBCU only shown the Game 1 anthem in the Winnipeg Jets series. The U.S. audience showed the outside crowds in all 3 Winnipeg home games but NBCU refused to show us the Toronto crowd in the only game available in Game 4.
The Jets were up 1-0 in the 2nd intermission in Game 4 but the NBCU intermission didn't even pretend to acknowledge the Jets. NBCU treats the intermissions with a stop watch but the one-sided presentations show clear bias. Say what you will about the Rogers intermissions but both teams always get mentioned.
John Forslund wasn't supposed to be in Toronto for Game 3 but was summoned away from his scheduled assignment in New Jersey. Doc Emrick took the game off and Mike Milbury went back to the studio. Pierre McGuire was in Toronto. Gord Miller and Joe Micheletti hopefully got some good sleep before covering Game 4 from St. Paul.
The #1 crew in various incarnations have stuck with the Toronto series. Ed Olczyk, who did play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, joined Doc and Pierre for Game 4. Interesting that Milbury called the games in Boston but didn't set foot in Toronto. Milbury could have hung out in his former haunts with his former CBC buddies since Sportsnet operates out of the CBC building. NBCU shouldn't have had Milbury doing analysis on this series. This reinforces their Boston bias and bias against Toronto.
We were treated to the Rogers Sportsnet feed for the Jets Game 5, a brilliant move. However, Kathryn Tappen pulled the same crap that Paul Burmeister did for Game 2 and talk up to the point and beyond where the game actually went.
NBCU covered up transitions back to Rogers Sportsnet programming. This was a meaningful moment that the U.S. covered up. The GoFundMe fund is now up to $15 million. Lots of warm and wonderful generosity from multiple countries to a very sad community.
Even with a win in Game 5, the Maple Leafs should have played better in Game 4. When your only goal comes from Tomas Plekanec, your offence is struggling. Plekanec does a lot of small things but getting his first goal with the Maple Leafs was long past due.
If Toronto can get past Boston, Tampa Bay awaits on the other side to decide the "Adams" championship.
We've also seen an alarmingly low number of penalties called in the Toronto series, especially at the Air Canada Centre. Fewer penalties favour the Boston team since refs tend to look the other way for Bruins roughplay.
Josh Morrissey got a 1-game suspension for a bad cross-check on Minnesota's Eric Staal in Game 4. That was a fair call. That perspective makes you wonder why Nazem Kadri received a punishment 3 times more severe for a lesser hit. Morrissey didn't receive a penalty for his hit while Kadri had a major and a game misconduct.
NBCU sends out press releases. often very late, about the upcoming announcers. For Game 2 and Game 5, both releases said the announcers were "Dave Randorf, Louie Debrusk," who called the desert series for CBC. Paul Romanuk and Garry Galley called the Jets series for Rogers Sportsnet along with Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Scott Oake. NBCU should also know that in the DeBrusk's name, the B is capitalised.
People make mistakes but are supposed to learn from those mistakes.
We haven't made note of the CBC telecasts in the first round since there hasn't been an deviation. Rogers Sportsnet will more than likely handle a Game 7 in the U.S. capital if there is one. In this first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. 2 series were 4-0 sweeps. 5 of the 6 remaining series were at 3-1. Of those 5 series, 3 of them went to at least a Game 6.
When we mentioned the firing of Alain Vigneault, I put out there that a Canadian team should sign up Vigneault. One of my close Twitter followers suggested the southern Alberta team. Well, the Calgary Flames now have an opening, having fired head coach Glen Gulutzan along with assistants Dave Cameron and Paul Jerrard. Guy Boucher has been left hanging by Ottawa Senators management. Vigneault would be a fit in Ottawa. The Senators played so well for Boucher in his first year and so awful in his second year.
The Flames crash and fall was linked to injuries but still can't be ignored. Vigneault can help a few clubs and now Calgary is officially in the mix for a better fit.
While there was a tail end of a CBC promo on screen for Game 3 during the NHL Network matinee rebroadcast, we can't count the promo. Based on the first 2 games, the CBC promos are focusing on apps. April is a difficult time to promote shows since there isn't a regular lineup until June.
We got CBC rebroadcasts for the first 4 Maple Leafs games but not for Game 5.
Game 4: CBC TV app (2nd)
photo credits: RogersSportsnet/NHL; NBC Sports; CBC/NHL
Twitter captures: @MapleLeafs; @NHLJets