Friday, 27 April 2018

A Win Is A Win

No one asks how; they just ask how many. Well, in some cases, they ask how and tonight is one of those nights as the Winnipeg Jets - outplayed, outshot, out-possessed, out-everythinged - came away with a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game One of the Central Division Final. It wasn't a pretty win by any means, and I doubt you'll find a Winnipeg Jet who would be celebrating that victory with more than a nod of acceptance that they have to be better in Game Two, but a win is a win and that's all that matters.

The Jets did what they've done throughout these playoffs in getting the first goal, and it was the above-pictured Brandon Tanev who chipped in a rebound past Rinne to open the scoring. The Jets spoke of the importance of getting rebound chances to beat Rinne on Monday, and they drew first blood by following that game plan.

"You got to get some traffic to him and get some second and third opportunities," Jets forward Adam Lowry told The Globe and Mail's Judy Owen on Monday.

Tanev followed that plan, and the Jets got a second goal off a rebound when Paul Stastny banged home a rebound in front of Rinne to make it 2-0 for the Jets. The Jets were opportunistic with their limited shots to that point, but a two-goal lead is better than being down a couple of goals.

In saying that, Connor Hellebuyck, to that point, had made a bazillion or so saves to keep the Predators off the scoreboard, but the vast majority of those shots came from the outside with no traffic in front and very few second chances. Credit has to go to the Jets defenders and their backchecking forwards who kept the doorstep clear of yellow jerseys. Connor Hellebuyck will stop almost everything if he can see it, and he had great views of most shots tonight.

Speaking of shots, he did stop 47 of them when all was said and done as Hellebuyck stole Game One for the Jets with his performance in the 4-1 victory. Yes, the Jets did score four goals, but the 48 shots that Hellebuyck saw had at least a half-dozen quality chances in there. Hellebuyck out-dueled Rinne in Game One, but I would expect Rinne and the Predators to come back in Game Two with teeth bared.

The Jets lead the series 1-0. A win is a win, and Winnipeg has the early advantage.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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