Winnipeg Jets pushed to brink with 3rd straight playoff loss to Avalanche

The Winnipeg Jets continue to spend too much time in the penalty box and the Colorado Avalanche continue to make them pay. Now the Jets are on the ropes.

The Avalanche scored a pair of power play goals in a 5-1 Game 4 victory for a commanding 3-1 series lead to push the Jets to the brink of elimination.

Valeri Nichushkin had a hat trick as the Jets were dominated for the third straight game. Winnipeg has been outscored 18-5 since the third period of Game 1.

The Jets were under siege right from the drop of the puck. Colorado had 11 of the first 12 shots on goal and then Logan Stanley threw a blind pass up the boards that was intercepted by Zach Parise. He gave it to Casey Mittelstadt who spotted Artturi Lehkonen in front and he lifted it past Hellebuyck for his fourth goal of the series.

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But the Jets found their legs later in the opening period and at the 13:56 mark, Mason Appleton dropped a pass off for Nate Schmidt and he picked the top corner on Alexandar Georgiev. The Avs used a coach’s challenge to argue the play was offside. Kyle Connor was extremely close to entering the zone early but they concluded there was no clear cut video evidence, so the goal was allowed to count. The Avalanche were assessed a delay of game penalty but the Jets couldn’t capitalize on the power play.

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It was a much better finish to the period for Winnipeg as the Jets recorded seven of the last eight shots of the first and they went to the dressing rooms tied at one apiece. The shots were 13-9 for Colorado in the period.

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The Jets started the second like they finished the first before getting into more penalty trouble. Cale Makar’s long shot was tipped in by Nichushkin for the power play marker to give him a goal in every game in the series so far.

Less than four minutes later, Makar weaved into the Jets before firing it past Hellebuyck for a 3-1 Colorado lead.

Then the Jets took another penalty and the Avs scored another goal. In the final minute of the period the Avalanche scored a third straight goal as Nichushkin whacked in a loose puck and Colorado was in full control leading 4-1 after 40 minutes.

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Colorado outshot Winnipeg 17-7 in the second stanza.

Laurent Brossoit replaced Hellebuyck for the final frame and stopped all four shots he faced.

Vladislav Namestnikov had to leave the game in the third period after being hit in the face by friendly fire. Schmidt’s slap shot appeared to catch him just under the visor.

The Avalanche killed off two penalties successfully in the third and Nichushkin scored into the empty net for the hat trick as the Jets suffered a third straight playoff loss.

Brenden Dillon did not play in Game 4 after getting cut on his hand by a skate at the end of Game 3. He was replaced in the lineup by Stanley.

The Jets used three new-look forward lines after dropping Nikolaj Ehlers down to the third line with Appleton and Adam Lowry. Nino Niederreiter was moved up to the second line with Sean Monahan and Tyler Toffoli, while David Gustafsson was scratched for Axel Jonsson-Fjällby on the fourth forward line.

The shots finished 35-26 for Colorado. Hellebuyck stopped 26 of 30 shots, while Georgiev made 25 stops.

The crucial Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday back in Winnipeg at the Canada Life Centre with puck drop scheduled for 8:30 PM.


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