Jets Grounded, Golden Knights First to Advance

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Jets Grounded, Golden Knights First to Advance in Stanley Cup Playoffs

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On Thursday night, we finally saw a team advance to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in the fifth game of their series with a strong 4-1 performance.

Vegas took the lead just 50 seconds into the game and the Jets never got off the mat. The Golden Knights scored another first-minute goal to open the second period and the game was effectively over. When Vegas took a four-goal lead to the room after 40 minutes of play, it appeared the Jets were already considering the golf course availability while they were in Vegas for the game.

How bad was it for the Jets? Head coach Rick Bowness, who called out his team’s effort a couple times this year, did not hold back in his postgame press conference. In fact, this was a rare blow torch of a coach’s own roster after a postseason elimination.

The Jets were the last team in the Western Conference to qualify for the postseason as the fourth team out of the Central Division. They head into a summer that will undoubtedly hold some tough decisions, including the future of RFA center Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Vegas now gets to stay home as the top seed in the Western Conference and wait for the winner of the Kings-Oilers series, which continues with a potential elimination game in LA on Saturday night. Edmonton leads that series 3-2 heading into their Game Six.

With 111 points in the regular season, the Golden Knights own home-ice throughout the Western Conference. However, this is the first postseason appearance for Jack Eichel — who was, infamously, the second overall pick behind Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Draft. A matchup of those two players in the next round would certainly be intriguing.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab