Season ends for Winnipeg Jets thanks to 6-3 Game 5 loss to Colorado

The Winnipeg Jets said this year would be different.

After beating Colorado in game 1 of their first round series, the Jets said that this year wouldn’t be like last year when they took game 1 against Vegas and then lost four straight.

But that’s exactly what has happened in 2024.

The Jets’ season came to a close Tuesday night thanks to a 6-3 home loss to the Avalanche as Winnipeg has now lost 12 of 14 playoff games since sweeping Edmonton in the first round in 2021.

The Jets were gift-wrapped a lead just 1:15 into the game. After a brief scramble at the side of the net, the puck squirted free in the crease in front of an open net. Josh Manson tried to clear it to safety but shot it right into Artturi Lehkonen a few feet away, sending the puck back into the net.

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Kyle Connor was a part of the initial scramble and was given credit for his third goal of the playoffs.

Colorado responded quickly, leveling the score just over two minutes later. After gaining the zone fairly easily, the Avs’ top line went to work with some crisp passing. Mikko Rantanen found Devon Toews coming into the zone late and as he skated up the ice, he sent a great cross-ice feed to Valeri Nichushkin who blasted it home to make it 1-1 with his seventh goal of the series.

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Colorado held a 13-7 edge in shots on goal through 20 minutes but the game remained tied 1-1 until the fourth line came through for the Avalanche at the 5:42 mark of the second.

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A shot from the point was steered aside by Connor Hellebuyck and the puck trickled behind the net. Neal Pionk was caught flat-flooted and couldn’t reach it before Yakov Trenin got to the puck, stepped in front of the net and roofed it past Hellebuyck to give Colorado the lead.

It didn’t last long. Miles Wood was called for holding less than a minute after Trenin’s goal and the Jets made him pay when Josh Morrissey’s shot from the point went off the post and in to make it 2-2 at the 6:48 mark of the second.

Colorado regained the lead with 6:15 left in the second thanks to an own goal off the stick of Pionk. A shot from Lehkonen glanced off the stick of Mark Scheifele as he released it, sending it sideways towards the corner. Pionk tried to corral the puck but it had too much velocity so after hitting the blade of Pionk’s stick, the puck slid into the open net to make it 3-2 for the Avalanche.

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According to the NHL, with Lehkonen and Nichushkin each scoring in every game of the series, it’s the first time ever that two players on the same team have done that at the same time over the first five games of a postseason.

Winnipeg managed to outshoot Colorado 19-11 in the second but the visitors carried the one-goal lead into the third as they looked to finish off the series.

Just over two minutes into the third, the Jets drew level when Tyler Toffoli took a drop pass from Nikolaj Ehlers and beat Alexandar Georgiev from distance with a hard shot under the blocker.

The building was rocking, though not for long as Colorado regained the lead just 2:05 after Toffoli’s goal.

Rantanen got on the board with his first of the series when he redirected a point shot from Toews past Hellebuyck, and he didn’t have to wait long to score his second of the playoffs.

3:50 after making it 4-3, Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon were sprung on a 2-on-1. MacKinnon sent a tape-to-tape pass across the ice that Rantanen buried past a sprawling Hellebuyck to make it 5-3 with 11:59 to go.

Winnipeg pulled Hellebuyck with two minutes to go as they tried to muster a last-ditch comeback effort but they couldn’t find the back of the net as fans flooded for the exits before the final horn sounded.

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Josh Manson added an empty-netter with two seconds left.

Hellebuyck, the likely Vezina winner, got saddled with the loss after stopping 26 shots as the Jets became the first team in NHL history to allow five or more goals in five straight games to start a postseason.

The Jets are now 10-23 in playoff games (including the four-game loss to Calgary in the bubble) since beating Nashville in 2018 while Colorado advances to face the winner of the series between Dallas and Vegas.