Given where the Winnipeg Jets currently sit in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it might be completely absurd to suggest they possess any type of advantage entering an elimination game — on the road, no less — Thursday night.
Either that or it’s exceedingly optimistic to think being down three games to one in a best-of-seven series provides you with any leverage at all, especially when the puck drops inside T-Mobile Arena — where the unique environment is best described as rock concert meets flea market.
But know this: with Vegas holding all the cards to end the series at home on Thursday, the pressure is really on them to seize the moment. That, coupled with the fact that they have zero — and I repeat, zero — interest in travelling back to Winnipeg for a Game 6, places a lot of internal expectations on the Western Conference winners.
For Vegas, concluding the series in five games would provide them with some much-needed time off, given how rugged and physical their confrontation with the Jets has been thus far — a series that leads the league in combined hits with more than 400 through four games.
We’ve got some business to take care of ✈️ pic.twitter.com/SYyO9amrqh
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 25, 2023
In fact, with the winner of the L.A.-Edmonton matchup set to provide the next opponent for either the Jets or Knights — and that series appears destined to go the distance — a few extra days to heal up before it starts would appear to be an additional incentive for the Golden Knights to slay the Jets for a final time this season.
But if the Golden Knights look past Thursday in a potential clinching game, and stumble at home, where they have already lost to Winnipeg in the series, then the Jets — who have competed valiantly and are going back to Winnipeg after Game 5 regardless — could then force Jack Eichel and company to board a flight they don’t want to take.
And knowing the Golden Knights loathe that sentiment, the pressure would appear to be all on them to get it done in five — and perhaps that’s something Winnipeg could use optimistically to its advantage.
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