The Winnipeg Jets taught us a valuable lesson with these playoffs. You never really know when a team just is going to go belly up. Now Winnipeg had taken the lead three times in a row heading into the third period (or during the third) and then they blew each lead.
Game 4 was a different story where Anaheim just kept coming and ultimately the result was a 5-2 series clincher. Now to be fair, the Jets were useful in the sense that they covered in Game 2 and hit the over a few times as well. However, in the overall scheme of things, the Jets might have been befallen by the same old reasons they have not made the playoffs at all in the past. Bettors really got dealt a tough break on this one.
Bettor’s Remorse: Winnipeg Wimps Out
No one wants to say it but the truth is Winnipeg tapped out in the third period of Game 4. The Jets had no answers for Ryan Kesler in the third frame and the second-line center could have scored four or five goals on Wednesday night. It was odd how some of the scoring worked out but ultimately Ondrej Pavelec reverted back to the Pavelec of old in the final two games, allowing nine goals in all. His third period save percentage was a total train wreck.
There is something to be said about a few things here.
The Atlanta Curse
The Jets, in this reincarnation, have not won a playoff game in eight tries. If you get really technical, no Atlanta franchise (Flames or Thrashers) won a playoff game while in town. That has to be, at the very least, unsettling. It is not just that they lose but the way they lose. There is an uncanny nature as to how this franchise finds ways to lose, but is it really a curse?
That answer is honestly no. This four-game sweep at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks came because Winnipeg could not steal a game in California and then things actually snowballed once they came home. This was a case where the pressure and the crowd came back to haunt them. It was a shame too because you could see glimpses of why Winnipeg was picked by some to actually win the series. There was the tight checking, the shot potential and solid goaltending.
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) April 23, 2015
Nothing ever really materialized for the Jets though and they gave up all those goals in the last two games as things unraveled. If you had cut the Atlanta out, would the result have been different? That is a great question for hockey people and not just bettors. Maybe it would have been meant a game or two but Anaheim was the better team and showed it when it meant most.
Spacing And Space Cases
Discipline had been an issue all year long. The Jets have been one of the most penalized teams over the last few seasons. Now Anaheim definitely has no saints in the discipline debate but for the most part in this series, the Ducks were the more restrained team.
It is also a nice way of saying they just did not get caught.
Bettors noted that after the first two games but the scores were close. You figured a natural bump would happen where Winnipeg would at least split.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) April 23, 2015
That was not meant to be however as Dustin Byfuglien nearly got suspended for a late hit in Game 3 and then there were the spacing issues again. Ever since Claude Noel was coach, Winnipeg cannot seem to get it together when it comes to simple spacing as far as team defense.
It happened on both Kesler goals as the middle of the ice was open and so the goalie was exposed. Any goaltender that gets exposed like Pavelec did often gives up softies as a result. That happened too in this series. The killer third period goals seemed to occur in every game as spaces just opened up magically.
There is still a part of me that thinks the Jets and bettors alike could benefit if they cut the Atlanta out. This is a team that does not need Pavelec and they must get better as far as sustained defense and strategy. Too many times things broke down and for whatever mental reason, the same mistakes continue to happen. There are key questions and it may be time for the team to move on from certain players to ensure a brighter future.
The Jets will be one of our “Teams To Watch” as far as betting for next season. As for Friday picks, there are three games and we will have some recommendations via Twitter.