The Winnipeg view: Was it the travel? The refs? Or just the Wild kicking butt?


First of all, everyone wondered about the impact that their messed-up travel plans would have on the Winnipeg jets as they came to St. Paul for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Their Saturday flight from Winnipeg was rerouted to Duluth because of the blizzard and, after returning to Winnipeg on Saturday night, the Jets landed in the Twin Cities on Sunday.

Excuse?

Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun wrote: “Nobody would or should try to use the travel woes as an excuse. But the general feeling was if the Jets kept playing the way they did in Games 1 and 2, they would cruise to winning the series. They didn’t play that way. They were sloppy and loose, nowhere near as physical and they didn’t get playoff goaltending. The Wild made adjustments and were much better and the Jets simply didn’t respond. Great response by coach Bruce Boudreau and the Wild players. (Jets coach) Paul Maurice, it’s your turn.”

Read from from Wyman here.

What about the fights in the final seconds of Game 2? Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press noted their potential impact, citing Canada’s foremost hockey voice, Don Cherry:  “Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry says many, many stupid things but he was bang-on after Game 2 when he scolded the Jets for the late game melee that seemed to awaken the Wild, who to that point had otherwise looked every bit like a condemned man making the final walk resigned to his fate. The last thing the Jets needed to do at that point, up 2-0 in games and halfway home in this best-of-seven series, was to turn what has always been a mostly friendly and good-natured rivalry with a hockey neighbor into a bitterly fought battle to the death.

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“But here we are after a Game 3 in which all the gentilities of two northern neighbors known for their insufferable friendliness were buried over the course of 60 minutes in favor of one of those brass knuckle battles where everyone was fighting dirty all night long, or at least as long as the final result was still in doubt, which turned out to be two periods. It is not a good look for the Jets, who are the more talented and the more skilled of the two teams.”

Read the rest of Wiecek’s report here.

The difference in officiating and goaltending was on the mind of Winnipeg Sun writer Paul Friesen.

On how the game was called: “The officiating, like the Jets’ play, was also night-and-day from Games 1 and 2, where the decision apparently had been to just let the boys play. ‘There wasn’t a whole lot of penalties the first two games,’ (Jets center Bryan) Little said. ‘They let a lot more go. It took us after that first period to kind of figure it out, what we could get away with. It was totally different. Hopefully there’s a bit more consistency in the next one.’ ”

On goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who was pulled after the Wild scored six goals in the first two periods: “Despite the fact he couldn’t see through his teammates on a couple of goals, it wasn’t Hellebuyck’s night, either, and after he had let in six on 22 shots through 40 minutes, Maurice gave him the third period off.Hellebuyck handled a question about his own play the same way he handled some Minnesota shots. He whiffed on it. ‘I don’t really like that question,’ he said. ‘We’re in a series here. We’re going to lose one once in a while. It’s how we respond to the next one.’ “

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Read more from Friesen here

Playoff inexperience and penalties were part of Jason Bell’s story in the Free Press.

On inexperience, Jets coach Paul Maurice said the loss had “nothing to do with playoff experience. (Going) 4-0 (in the series) isn’t the standard that any team should be held to. You just go out and play your game. We were good in the first two, (the Wild) didn’t like their game. They were good tonight and we didn’t like our game. Play out the string.”

On penalties that led to Wild power play goals, Bell wrote: “There’s playing on the edge and there’s playing with negligence — and the Jets were guilty of the latter early in the game as referees Wes McCauley and Tim Peel implemented a far different standard of officiating, treating the rulebook as gospel. Tagged for a couple of foolish infractions in the first period, the Jets’ over-aggressiveness led to a pair of power-play goals by (Mikael) Granlund and (Zach) Parise.”

Bell’s full game story is here.

Here’s a trio of postgame videos from TSN, Canada’s version of ESPN:

On the impact of the weekend’s travel issues.

On whether the Jets were on cruise control after winning the first two games.

On the Wild’s power play and Devan Dubnyk’s fine showing.

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