NHL Playoff Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs Colorado Avalanche (04/28/2024)

Winnipeg Jets vs Colorado Avalanche

The Winnipeg Jets (1-2) face the Colorado Avalanche (2-1) in a must-win game if they want to head back to Winnipeg with a 2-2 deadlock in the series. Did you miss the game? Don’t worry! We have you covered with this exclusive game recap at Inside The Rink.

Unideal Start for Winnipeg Leads to 1-1 Deadlock After 20

Quick first-period notes:

  • Jets caved in early by overwhelming Colorado offense
  • Hellebuyck/Georgiev showing strengths early on
  • Controlled zone entries for Winnipeg kept the score close
  • Lehkonen continues to be a problem for Winnipeg
  • Nate Schmidt’s veteran presence proving invaluable for the Jets
  • 12-9 shot advantage for Colorado, 1-1 tie after 20

The Winnipeg Jets opened up the first period in the most unideal fashion ever. Nicknamed the “Fraud Squad” by many fans, the Jets seemed to want to prove that and then show why they weren’t frauds. (Written during the first intermission)

The Winnipeg Jets started the first four minutes of the game in an incredibly aggressive fashion. They were hitting every Avalanche that moved and controlled the majority of zone entries throughout the game. However, Colorado amped up the aggressive play and dominated the next eight minutes of playtime.

At one point, the Winnipeg Jets were being outshot 13-2, Artturi Lehkonen continued his dominance over the Jets as he scored the opening goal. Lehkonen’s fourth goal of the series continues to be nightmare fuel for Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets defence. The Jets would lock down the game defensively going forward which saw them limit the Avs to just one shot on goal after Lehkonen’s goal.

The Jets would clock seven more shots on goal to close out the period. Three shots were high-danger scoring chances and one resulted in a goal. Sean Monahan was caught on late after his linemates Nino Niederreiter and Tyler Toffoli had changed. Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton were fresh legs on the ice. Monahan’s pass connected to Logan Stanley who bombed it back to Appleton and found Nate Schmidt who was free from any defenders. Schmidt walked up with the puck and rifled home a beautiful wrist shot that beat Alexandar Georgiev to tie the game up at 1-1.

Jared Bednar would challenge for offside after Schmidt’s goal, but the referees deemed it to be a good goal and the Jets received a two-minute penalty for delay of game. The Jets’ defensive lockdown was on full display as they did not let Colorado get a single shot on goal after Lehkonen’s initial goal. Heading into the second period, Winnipeg was being outshot 13-9 by Colorado, but they kept the score tied 1-1.

Avalanche Successfully Break the Jets, Lead 4-1 After 40

Quick second-period notes:

  • Jets open with the same level of intensity
  • Jets’ PK come up huge against lethal Avalanche PP all but twice
  • Georgiev turning away multiple scoring chances
  • Hellebuyck stays steady against
  • Avalanche pushes Jets to panic mode, strikes three times
  • Jets’ play cracks, lose any reason to battle back

The Winnipeg Jets have started to crack. They opened the second period with some okay play, but the mistakes started to settle in and Colorado completely took over the game.

Colorado got their first of four power-play chances at the halfway point of the second period. Valeri Nichuskin scored his first goal of the game off of a dominant power play setup. Nichuskin would receive the puck from Cale Makar after a lengthy cycle and pound the Avalanche’s second goal of the game past Hellebuyck.

Winnipeg would push back a little bit, but the cracks started to show in their game as mistake after mistake set into their game. An abysmal line change from captain Adam Lowry led to Cale Makar’s goal to put Avalanche up 3-1. This was followed by Scheifele not showing any effort to skate hard to gain possession of the puck.

These are just two examples of many that happened in the second period for the Winnipeg Jets and from their leaders nonetheless. This is benchable behaviour that any reasonable coach would punish. We’ve seen time and time again that Rick Bowness will not hold players accountable if you are seen as a star player in his eyes. This is a mistake that continues to bite him in the rear end and it has bitten him the most in this series against Colorado. Winnipeg will only continue to fail in the playoffs if this team cannot make changes on the fly.

That isn’t even the end of this dumpster fire of a second period either. Nino Niederreiter would get called for roughing against Sean Walker in a highly undisciplined penalty to take with 60 seconds left in the period. Colorado would waste absolutely no time on this power play as Valeri Nichuskin scored 36 seconds into this power play, further twisting the knife of the already hard-to-watch game.

The Winnipeg Jets ended the second period of game four, which was by far their worst period played of the entire season might I add, being outshot 17-7 and down 4-1.

Jets Lose to Avalanche 5-1, Go Down 3-1 in Series

Quick third-period notes:

  • Losing Namestnikov is a major blow to the Jets fourth line
  • Jets play miles better in the third period
  • Hellebuyck gets the mercy pull, Brossoit starts third period
  • Referees continue to miss multiple penalties against Winnipeg, but call the Jets on every little thing
  • Jets’ power play remains horrible, can’t score when they need to
  • Interior positioning remains an issue for the Jets
  • Colorado taking advantage of the lack of identity the Jets 3rd/4th lines have

After the atrocious second period, Winnipeg came to play in the third period. Laurent Brossoit got the nod to relieve Connor Hellebuyck of his goaltending duties. The Jets controlled all three zones and limited Colorado’s offensive firepower which should’ve been the standard set in the first two periods and not during the third period.

Winnipeg got a couple of solid opportunities to score, and Artturi Lehkonen gave the Jets a better chance as he went off for hooking against Nino Niederreiter. Just three seconds into the Jets’ power play, Yakov Trenin would high stick Sean Monahan in the mouth which should’ve led to a Jets 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:57. However, the trend of poor officiating in this series continued, and Trenin was let off scot-free as if he was a saint and didn’t whack Monahan in the face right off the faceoff.

While the Jets played well defensively, they wouldn’t be able to turn it up offensively in the third period. Valeri Nichuskin put the empty net dagger in the net to score his hat trick goal, his first career NHL hat trick.

Both teams continued to battle as time ran down off the clock faster than the Jets preferred. With 6:51 left in the game, Jack Johnson would get called for tripping which gave the Jets yet another power play opportunity to attempt to rally their way back into the game. The Jets could play 6-on-3 against Colorado and they would still continue to float and lack any pressure on the Avalanche. To say our power play has been atrocious is an understatement.

None of this game is on Connor Hellebuyck either, the team continued to quit in front of him when it mattered most. Stockpiling any blame on the potential Vezina winner this year is lazy. While there have been goals that he should be stopping, there are many plays leading to a Colorado goal that the Winnipeg Jets should be defending.

Artturi Lehkonen, Casey Mittelstadt, and Valeri Nichuskin continued to dominate the Winnipeg Jets from all aspects. This freed up the Avalanche’s top players like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar to play their superstar calibre game with ease. Going into game five in Winnipeg on Tuesday, April 30, the Winnipeg Jets need to dominate all 60 minutes of the game if they want to survive the series past five games.

While the series isn’t over after four games, Colorado has won three straight games convincingly. The Winnipeg Jets could not split the series in Colorado and go down 3-1 in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Quarterfinals. Game five is set to be played at the Canada Life Centre back in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is a must-win for the Jets if they want to sniff a chance to play in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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