The Jets are coming home for Games 3 and 4 at Canada Life Centre, and they promise to be raucous, fast and full of emotion.
The two games in Las Vegas were polar opposites, with the Jets playing Game 1 close to perfection, and the Knights adjusting and dominating the last 40 minutes in Game 2.
And the storylines of both games reflect individual efforts of overcoming adversity.
Morgan Barron’s triumphant return in Game 1, after taking more than 75 stitches, helping the Jets to victory was the stuff of sports lore. It transcended hockey and created a buzz across the sports world. Barron’s contribution on the ice — blood and sweat — drove the Knights’ fans to tears.
In Game 2, another return to greatness was the difference, this time by a player wearing gold. Mark Stone’s last regular season game was Jan. 12 — he missed a total of 39 regular season games before returning to action in this series. The captain led by example on the ice, scored two goals and wore his emotion on his sleeves.
Winnipeg and Las Vegas are as different style cities as you will see on this continent — as different as the weather in both places — and yet these two teams have so much in common in building a great sports rivalry.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 21, 2023
There’s the Western Conference Final Series of 2018, and the aforementioned Stone who is a proud Manitoban, as is VGK GM Kelly McCrimmon. Then there’s the rivalry and friendship of the two goaltenders, Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit — now both with victories and stories to share when their friendship is renewed when the series is over.
Brossoit spent four years playing behind the Jets’ #37, improving his own game, all the while building a great friendship away from the arena, ice fishing, playing golf and talking style — members of the goaltenders’ union.
It’s these types of stories of heroic efforts and friendships, now on hold, that make the Stanley Cup Playoffs so special.
And you have to know there will be more stories to add to this rivalry on starting Saturday afternoon.
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