Jets eliminated from playoffs with ugly Game 5 loss to Golden Knights
Jets coach Rick Bones stepped into the media room at T-Mobile Arena and announced that his postgame availability would be short and sweet.
He wasn’t kidding.
After a 4-1 loss to Vegas that swept Winnipeg in five games, Bones spoke for 65 seconds about his club’s efforts.
“I’m so disappointed and disgusted right now,” Bowness said.
The veteran coach did not point a finger, but did not sink.
“There should be pride,” he said. “You have to be able to push back when things don’t go your way. We had no pushback. Their better players were much better than ours tonight. They deserved to win.
“They were the better team in the regular season, they were the better team in this series.”
A visibly frustrated Rick Bones walked out of his postgame press conference following Vegas’ 4-1 loss to the Jets.
“Their good players were a lot better than our players tonight and it’s not even close.” #NHLJets pic.twitter.com/CWkq7Iewkb
Instead of coming out with desperate brand hockey in the elimination game, the Jets were sloppy and never really got going.
Vegas controlled the game for most of the first period as Winnipeg went the first eight minutes without a shot.
Mark Stone, William Karlsson and Stephenson all scored in an eight-minute span in the second period and the Golden Knights were on their way.
Kyle Connor scored Winnipeg’s only goal.
“It’s not where we imagined we’d be,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “That’s not where we want to be.”
WATCH |: Stevenson leads the way as the Golden Knights eliminate the Jets.
Nikolaj Ehlers made his Jets debut after missing more than two weeks with an upper-body injury. Mark Scheiffe (upper body) and Josh Morrissey (lower body) sat out.
The Jets looked like a different team in a 5-1 Game 1 victory, and they couldn’t duplicate that effort later in the first-round series.
For Game 5, showgirls in feather headdresses danced near the boards during warmups. A medieval pregame ceremony featured Vegas-style theatrical performances.
When the box fell, the Golden Knights picked up where they left off.
They outplayed, outplayed and outplayed the visiting Jets, who showed little spark and looked outmatched. A rabid sellout crowd ate it up.
Vegas clogged the half of the ice and prevented Winnipeg from finding its rhythm. The Jets looked scattered as attempts to break the zone were often stifled by off-the-mark passes.
In the 15th minute of the game, Winnipeg finally managed a half-decent scoring opportunity. The Golden Knights outscored the Jets 8-5 in the opening period.
Stone scored 42 seconds into the second period when he corralled a jumper and beat Hellebuyck by the glove side. Karlsson took the lead at 4:41 when he one-timed a pass from goaltender Michael Amadio.
The @GoldenKnights two goals in the opening five minutes of the middle frame.
William Karlsson strikes to make Vegas 3-0. pic.twitter.com/68hBsUFC5o
Lowry nearly put Winnipeg on the board a few minutes later, but Laurent Brossois denied him with a diving glove save. Lowry was later called for hawking, and Vegas’ power play changed nine seconds later when Stevenson tallied at 8:37.
Stone had an assist on his second three-pointer of the series.
Down by four and desperate, the Jets pulled Hellebuyck for an extra attacker with more than eight minutes left in the third period. Connor scored with 5:38 left to end Brossoit’s shutout bid.
The Jets’ goal is overturned
With the Winnipeg net still empty, Pierre-Luc Dubois pulled in a rebound with 2:35 to play.
Vegas will now have a few days off as the team awaits their Round 2 opponent.
Winnipeg was hoping to prepare for Game 6 at home on Saturday. Instead, its offseason is now underway.
“Every time you go out, it’s a bummer,” Ehlers said. “There is no other word for it.”
Winnipeg beat Vegas 30-25.
The Jets got off to a good start in the regular season, but struggled mightily at times in the second half. Winnipeg managed to put together a couple of wins in the final few weeks of the campaign to clinch the second wild card.
A first-round exit should make for an interesting offseason for a club that must decide whether to promote its current starting lineup or overhaul its roster.
Winnipeg reached the Western Conference Finals in 2018, also losing to Vegas, and has not advanced beyond the second round since.
Entering this year’s first round, teams with 3-1 leads in best-of-seven series held a 299-31 (.906) series record.
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