ANAHEIM, Calif. — In the all-important, super-subjective hits column, the Jets and Ducks combined for 83 in a physical, bone-crushing Game 1. That didn’t include countless post-whistle altercations or Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler nailing Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner after the buzzer.
That’s trademark Jets hockey, so don’t expect much of it to change in Game 2 despite being down a game to open their first-round playoff series.
“It’s something that we enjoy, it’s the way we’ve been playing throughout the whole year,” captain Andrew Ladd said Friday afternoon. “When we’re moving and skating and we’re on the body, that’s when we’re playing our best hockey. I would expect to see as much or more going forward.”
WINNIPEG – There will be hard feelings for hockey fans in Atlanta as they watch some familiar faces take a run at the Stanley Cup.
Once mainstays of the Atlanta Thrashers, players like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Ondrej Pavelec are now wearing Jets colours after the team relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. As the Jets get ready to bring NHL playoff hockey back to their jubilant fan base in Winnipeg for the first time in almost two decades, the remaining Thrashers fans can only look on with mixed emotions.
“They’re still hurting that we lost our NHL franchise here, and that’s going to be tough for that to go away,” said Chris Ciovacco, who administers a Thrashers fan page on Facebook.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — After the Atlanta Thrashers were swept in the 2007 playoffs, Jim Slater never imagined that would be the last playoff game for a group that had Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk and more.
“When you make it into the playoffs at a young age, you think you’re going to be there for a while and it’s going to be year after year,” Slater said.
That group never made it back before the team left Atlanta, and it took until the fourth season as the Winnipeg Jets to qualify for the post-season. They’ll try to win the first playoff game in franchise history in Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
WINNIPEG – Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers are living in the moment, but they haven’t forgotten the past.
The former Buffalo Sabres players remain grateful for their trade to the Winnipeg Jets and the opportunity to be in the playoffs instead of with a Sabres team that’s in turmoil.
“There were some pretty dark days in Buffalo, where we really didn’t know how things were going to work out,” Stafford said after Tuesday’s practice. “You just had to do your best to make sure you were showing up every day and putting the work in and doing your job.”
WINNIPEG — Call Saturday’s game at MTS Centre a victory lap.
With a Stanley Cup Playoff spot safely secured and nothing to be lost or gained in their regular season finalé, the Winnipeg Jets rested several veterans and dressed a skeleton crew for their 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
With the likes of Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Mark Stuart, and Ondrej Pavelec among others getting the day off, it allowed the club’s black aces to play and rookies Connor Hellebuyck and Andrew Copp to dress for their first NHL games.