The Winnipeg Jets will play the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Second Round.
Winnipeg, the No. 3 seed in the Scotia North Division, swept the Edmonton Oilers, the No. 2 seed, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Canadiens, the No. 4 seed, defeated the No. 1 seed Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 in Game 7 on Monday to end that best-of-7 series with three straight wins.
“Our program, in terms of how we want to play, isn’t going to change and isn’t dependent on the opponent …,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said last week. “Away from the players, we’re just kind of running whatever program we run to prescout a team, we’re just doing it twice. We’re looking at both teams (Toronto and Montreal) very closely. As soon as this is decided, we’ll work back from the day of Game 1, we’ll work back in terms of video and what we do on the ice.”
Game 1 of the second round is at Winnipeg on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS). The Jets have not played since May 24, when they won their third overtime game in six days.
“Certainly, after the overtime games and the final game to go to triple overtime, we’ll enjoy our rest and get back to work here and be ready to go,” Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey said. “So, certainly, I’d rather have more rest than no time off at all, and we’re going to try to use it to our advantage here.”
Blake Wheeler (two goals, three assists) and Mark Scheifele (two goals, three assists) lead the Jets with five points each this postseason. Connor Hellebuyck is 4-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and one shutout.
“We’re not coming to the rink thinking, ‘We just dominated the Edmonton Oilers,'” Maurice said. “We scratched and clawed to be one goal better in each game and found a way to do it. But you get to carry that with you.”
Tyler Toffoli (one goal, three assists) and Joel Armia (two goals, two assists) led the Canadiens entering Monday with four points each this postseason. Carey Price was 3-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .926 save percentage.
The Jets won six of nine games against the Canadiens this season. Kyle Connor led Winnipeg with 10 points (six goals, four assists), Nikolaj Ehlers scored nine points (four goals, five assists), and Paul Stastny scored five goals. Hellebuyck started each game and had a 2.67 GAA, a .916 save percentage and one shutout. Laurent Brossoit allowed three goals on nine shots in relief in a 7-1 loss March 6.
Toffoli led Montreal with nine points (six goals, three assists) against Winnipeg. Nick Suzuki (three goals, four assists) and Tomas Tatar (one goal, six assists) each scored seven points. Price was 2-1-1 with a 3.01 GAA and .903 save percentage. Jake Allen was 1-2-2 with a 3.36 GAA and an .860 save percentage.
“We’ve seen them so many times throughout the year that you kind of understand how they play, the tendencies and whatnot,” Winnipeg forward Andrew Copp said. “… I think playoffs always change the game a little bit, just like you saw with us and Edmonton. I think you saw less off the rush than you would see in a normal regular-season game, and it’s a little bit tighter checking, more attention to detail, like I said. But I think you kind of expect that. I think you’re just kind of bouncing around different things.”
Winnipeg has never played Montreal in the playoffs.
“I’ve been watching pretty close, I’d say,” Copp said. “And maybe last night I watched differently than I did maybe Game 1 or Game 2, just based on you know that you’re playing the winner and maybe there’s some things that you’re concentrating on. It’s not like I’m watching details and writing notes down. It’s just kind of general things that they do, or maybe little habits that each player has. … Your mind kind of jumps around from topic to topic when you’re watching the game. But I think there’s definitely a little bit more of an eye on it now that we know we’re playing the winner of it.”
The Jets advanced to the second round for the first time since 2018, when they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in the Western Conference Final.
“Three years ago we were, you look at the makeup of our team and across the League, there was a belief we were going to make a big run,” Copp said. “We finished second in the League in points that year (to the Nashville Predators). We were kind of expected to move on. This time I think there was a little bit less of that from the outside. I still think the belief in our room was still very high, a lot of belief in each other in the type of game we could play and get to. I don’t know if there is much of a difference in the feeling inside the room because we believed in ourselves and we believed we could definitely make a run at this thing. I don’t know if it’s any different inside the room, but I’m sure outside the room the perspective is a little different.”
Montreal had not reached the second round since 2015, one season after it lost the Eastern Conference Final to the New York Rangers.
NHL.com independent correspondent Darrin Bauming contributed to this report