Jets: You must imagine | Winnipeg solar

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Paul Friesen Edmonton Oilers striker Connor McDavid (97) and Winnipeg Jets striker Andrew Copp (9) chase a loose puck in the first period on March 20, 2021 at Rogers Place i Edmonton. Edmonton Oilers striker Connor McDavid (97) and Winnipeg Jets striker Andrew Copp (9) chase a loose puck in the first period on March 20, 2021 at Rogers Place i Edmonton. Photo by Perry Nelson /USA TODAY Sports

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At first glance, one wonders why the Winnipeg Jets even bothered to board a plane to Edmonton on Tuesday.

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To hear most of them talk about it, they could have saved everyone time and money and just cashed in their playoff series in the first round with the mighty Oilers.

As a date with fate, there is a quick, decisive refusal here.

The only question that needs to be answered is how one-sided it will be: will the Jets humbly go down for four straight years or will their goalkeeper steal one and prolong the inevitable?

Regardless, you can make your plans for the second round of the Stanley Cup tournament away from the TV. After you have picked up the pointed sticks and marched to the team headquarters, of course demanding heads roll.

Well, with the favorites, fun things happen when the ice chips start spraying.

“In Carolina, we lost the fourth season of the season directly to Boston,” recalled Jets head coach Paul Maurice before joining the team charter. “And beat her in game 7 in her building.”

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Maurice was referring to a second round matchup in the 2009 playoffs.

The Bruins had finished the Eastern Conference of the NHL with 116 points and throttled Maurice’s Hurricanes in four regular season games with an aggregate score of 18-6.

But it was the 97 points and sixth-placed Hurricanes that advanced.

Maurice’s current challenge is no less daunting.

The Oilers dominated the season streak, winning seven out of nine and the last six in a row.

In the last six, the Jets have been outdone at 21-7 and nowhere near getting an answer to Connor McDavid.

The simple conclusion: the jets don’t stand a chance.

Tell that to the players and you might get an arched back or two.

“We have talent, heart and character and guys who really play up and down in our line-up,” said Andrew Copp. “Just counting us out of the show is a bit offensive to me.”

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Sitting next to Copp in the Zoom Room on Tuesday, Trevor Lewis shot back with a history lesson of his own, which he was proud to have lived firsthand nearly a decade ago.

“In 2012, we were number 8 at the President’s Trophy Canucks,” said Lewis, telling the story of how the eventual cup winners Los Angeles Kings came about.

While Vancouver won the regular season trophy with 111 points that year, the Kings took The Big One home after scoring just 95 points and reaching the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’s all about that belief in playoffs,” Lewis continued. “We are firmly convinced of it. We have a group that we know can do. “

Of course they’ll say that on the show.

This belief is either tested and weighed down with some hardships from the early series, or reinforced by an early success.

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In many ways, the teams aren’t that far apart.

The Oilers scored 13 more goals (183-170) than Winnipeg and allowed two more (154-152). They had five more rule or extension wins (35-30).

Narrow that margin down to regulatory gains and the gap widens to seven (31-24).

Wherever it gets tough for the jets, there are special teams, where Edmonton’s high-level powerplay stands alone (27.6%). The Jets had the seventh-placed attack in the league with the additional man (23%).

The Oilers have a less noticeable advantage in killing penalties (82.5% to 80.5%)

Most worrying for Jets fans are the Oilers who have the trump card in every game: McDavid. There is only one like him on the planet.

He ate the Jets’ breakfast, lunch and dinner this season, adding 22 points to his league top girth, seven of which were goals, all of even strength.

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Winnipeg’s biggest point-getter against the Oilers: Nik Ehlers at eight. And he was injured and probably won’t play Game 1.

But the Jets have the best goalie in hockey, you say?

Say that to Mike Smith, who has outdone Connor Hellebuyck’s performance this season. Even more convincing evidence that the underdogs in Helle have no hope.

“That’s fine,” said Mathieu Perreault of the doubters. “We know what we can do. There are no “my own statistics” anymore. It’s all about the team and you need that in the playoffs. “

This is what the most successful outsiders have in common: their collective strength is greater than the sum of their parts.

“We know that if we play our best game we can beat anyone any night,” said defender Neal Pionk. “It’s a lot easier said than done now, but there’s a lot of inner conviction that we can do it.”

For what it’s worth, this is how all miracles begin on the ice.

With faith.

Game 1 is always the best time to feed it.

Because it can fade faster than you can tell Connor McDavid.

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Twitter: @friesensunmedia

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