The Vegas Golden Knights are just one win away from the Stanley Cup finals, but the Winnipeg Jets and their loud energetic home crowd is ready to take them on Sunday in a crucial Game 5. On the brink of elimination, the Jets and their head coach Paul Maurice are acting like it isn't the first time they face a do or die game, and are more than ready for the challenge.
"These are the best games, always are, when everything is on the line," the Jets head coach said at a press conference Saturday before a team meeting.
"Everybody will be at their most excited. You have to find a way, and it shouldn't be very difficult, to love every minute of it. This has to be your finest hour. Before the puck drops, I'm not talking about the play, be able to get your mind that this is the most fun game of the year now."
However, right before the puck dropped on the ice, the Jets made some announcement on their lineup, as many changes were made at the last minute. It didn't take long for hockey experts on site to notice that Andrew Copp, Toby Enstrom and Ben Chiarot were all missing from the warmup session ahead of the contest. Instead, Joe Morrow, Dmitry Kulikov and Joel Armia were all taking part in the pre-game warmup.
Then, it was finally revealed that all three players, Copp, Enstrom and Chiariot were healthy scratches for the contest, as confirmed by TSN Jets insider Sara Orlesky.
Finally, just 10 minutes prior to puck drop in Winnipeg, the Jets made it public on social media and revealed their entire lineup who will face the Golden Knights for Game 5.
Kulikov will return with his former partner Tyler Myers, after missing two months of action.
Vegas leads the Western Conference Final 3-1 and on Sunday can eliminate the Jets, Canada’s best hope since the 2011 Vancouver Canucks to break the 25-year Stanley Cup famine in the country where hockey is loved the most.
However, the Jets have had a phenomenal year as well. They have managed to accomplish more in the playoffs than the Atlanta Thrashers franchise did before it relocated to Manitoba back in 2011.
They've also surpassed what was first achieved by the original NHL Jets franchise, that ended up moving to Arizona in 1996.