The Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights square off in Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference Monday night at Canada Life Centre.
And in addition to this being a “swing game” in the series, there is an added significance surrounding the outcome.
As if there wasn’t enough pressure on Winnipeg after that inspiring comeback on Saturday that just fell short in double overtime in Game 3.
Being down 2-1 in the series means the Jets need to win this game to avoid the not impossible but daunting task of beating the Golden Knights three straight times … or at least extending this beyond five games.
And the Jets need to do this without having #1 defenceman Josh Morrissey for the rest of the way, while still waiting on medical clearance for Nikolaj Ehlers to play his first game in nearly two weeks.
Even the most optimistic of us would have to admit the odds would be stacked pretty high against the Jets of advancing to Round Two.
We win as a team, we lose as a team. pic.twitter.com/cojDHksqOf
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 23, 2023
But that would also result in a scenario where this evening could be the last time we see this Jets core group, as we have known it for the last seven to eight years, on home ice.
Now the players certainly wouldn’t be thinking of that in the least. Nor would fans want them to. Their focus has to be concentrated fully on doing what needs to be done to emerge from Monday night tied 2-2 in the series.
I would boldly suggest it’s not even the slightest on the radar of coaches or management either.
But outside the Jets bubble? It has been talked about for weeks — months, really — about the difficult decisions that are coming with respect to the players one year removed from unrestricted free agency, in the aftermath of a non or short playoff run.
“Forever Winnipeg” — for the fans, the community, this province and Jets Nation, you want the answer to be a resounding, “hell yeah!”
But by later this week, that might not be the narrative for some very familiar names within the playing ranks.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.