Note: The long awaited game 5 is finally here as the Jets are looking to clinch their series with a win over the Wild at Bell MTS Place. While puck drop isn’t until 6:30 pm the Winnipeg Whiteout Street Party gets underway at 4:30 pm and is going to be the biggest one yet. The team practiced on Thursday although their D is still a skeleton crew without Myers/Enstrom/Kulikov and with Morrissey suspended. We shall see if Myers makes his rumoured return today at morning skate or if Sami Niku makes his NHL playoff debut. Check out the Jets pre-game report at 9:30 am for the latest news.
Note II: The Moose have their final day of practice as they prepare themselves for a weekend double-header with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The two teams will play Saturday and Sunday 2 pm matinees to kick off the best of five series. We will have our playoff preview out this afternoon to get you primed for the first playoffs in Moose 2.0 history.
Winnipeg Sun: No Morrissey, no problem for Jets. When you are hitting the nine spot on your defensive depth chart I suspect it is a wee bit of a problem.
Winnipeg Sun: Just in the Niku of time. I’ve been covering him all season in the AHL and I have to admit I’m jealous I didn’t think to use that headline once. Paul has more on the confident Finn.
Winnipeg Free Press: Laine loses teenager tag. (Paywall). Quite a run in his teenage years accumulating 134 points (80G & 54A) in 155 games. Mike has more on the Jets sniper.
Winnipeg Free Press: Jets blue-line blues notwithstanding, Wild’s best likely not enough. (Paywall). Former NHLer turned scribe Scott Campbell with his assessment of where things shake out for tonight’s contest.
Winnipeg Free Press: Rookie Sami Niku ready to play if Jets need him. We have watched him all year and it is clear that if called upon he will answer the challenge presented with playing an NHL playoff game the way he has handled all adjustments in his first year playing pro in North America.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trailing 3-1 to Jets, Wild chasing one victory at a time. Much like the Jets focus on one game at a time the Wild too really cannot fixate on the big picture but rather small victories.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Staal doesn’t have time to stress over cross-check. The Thunder Bay product is clearly none too pleased still but knows that he can’t get sidetracked on this issue.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dubnyk tries to stay relaxed in Wild’s goal. For the Wild to have a serious chance to win this contest they are going to need their netminder to continue to be a star. He has done everything but score for his squad as his efforts have really been all that has made this much of a series.
Sportsnet: Paul Maurice view injuries as just part of Jets’ unique story. One guy down, another guy up seems to be the mantra this team developed last season when a rash of injuries on the back end had Winnipeg going into their Moose roster to mine some talent. That theme has continued this season.
Sportsnet: Sami Niku oozing calmness ahead of potential playoff debut. Kid has ice in his veins and is actually a better talker than folks give him credit for although he is likely used to a few less cameras when we chat with him in the AHL. On either stage his game doesn’t change and Jets fans get a chance to see what Moose folks have been able to enjoy all season long.
The Athletic: On the cusp of a long-awaited playoff series win, Jets 2.0 inspire a rabid fan base and former players. (Paywall). This city is starving for success at the NHL level and there is a very real sense that this team can do something that the city hasn’t seen before in addition to winning a round for the first time in a bazillion years.
Illegal Curve: Jets Playoff Practice Report. Provides a look at the line rushes/D pairs for both the Jets and Wild from Thursday. Also includes health “updates” as well as scrum audio from Wheeler, Little, Laine, Ehlers, Niku and coach Maurice.
TSN: Jets’ mood lighthearted but confident heading into Game 5. Sara Orlesky, Darren Dreger and Frank Seravalli discuss the impressive mood in the room and how focused they are on getting the job done in Game 5 as well as the depth of Winnipeg’s blue line.
TSN 1290 Winnipeg: Jets are comfortable with depth on defence. Jets broadcaster Brian Munz joined Andrew Paterson and Rick Ralph on the Afternoon Ride. They discuss Josh Morrissey’s suspension and what the Jets defense will look like with him out of the lineup.
TSN 1290 Winnipeg: Maurice will lean on his top four in Game 5. Hockey Analyst Kevin Sawyer joined Andrew Paterson and Rick Ralph on the Afternoon Ride. They discussed the Jets/Wild first round series and how Morrissey’s injury will affect the Jets defense.
TSN 1290 Winnipeg: Jets play a sound game in front of Hellebuyck. Former NHL goalie and hockey analyst Andy Chiodo joined host Kevin Olszewski to break down the goaltending so far in round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
TSN 1290 Winnipeg: Niku is a dynamic player. Moose Head Coach Pascal Vincent joined Andrew Paterson and Rick Ralph on the Afternoon Ride. They discuss the Moose’s regular season, the upcoming playoff series vs. Grand Rapids, Mason Appleton’s development throughout the season, Sami Niku’s impressive rookie season and the contribution from the team’s veteran players.