The Wraparound: Jets, off long rest, finally face Canadiens

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

• Winnipeg and Montreal open Game 1 two nights after the Canadiens advanced from Game 7 with Toronto.

• The Avalanche will look to take a 2-0 lead on the Golden Knights before the series heads to Vegas.

The series to end all series did not in fact end all series. Toronto is out of the NHL playoffs and the sun still came up, and now the Canadiens will play the Jets.

For the Habs incredible feat of knocking out a Stanley Cup contender in the First Round, the Jets were also impressive in eliminating the Oilers.

The Canadiens and Jets are coming off of, obviously, vastly different series. While the Jets had a ton of time to rest and wait for their opponent, the Canadiens had their grueling series with multiple overtimes.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]

The rest versus rust debate will always make its way into the discourse, but Winnipeg has had a chance to not only recover from its shellacking of Connor McDavid and co, but learn from how the Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs.

While the Jets are used to having a goaltending advantage with Connor Hellebyuck in net, Carey Price essentially won the series for Montreal with his play, nearly nabbing the Game 7 shut out. It’ll be tougher to score on him than it was Mike Smith.

Goals won’t come as easily. Where the Jets can inflict some of the might they showed with the Oilers, though, could be slowing down the Habs offense. They didn’t have much trouble with Jack Campbell late in the series. Much like the Jets are facing better goaltending now, so are the Canadiens.

Montreal is a tough team to play against. Objectively tougher than the Oilers squad that was swept away kind of easily. They challenge plays, they can come back from down in games (and, also as we saw, give up leads, so there is that) and their forwards play a strong defensive game too, so the neutral zone isn’t exactly easy to get through.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

As competitive as Toronto and Montreal were, getting to a seventh game, the last few games belonged to the Habs, overtime and all. Especially in Game 7, they just outperformed Toronto. Winnipeg clearly had the matchup advantage with the Jets. So, this might become the most competitive series out of Canada. It’s certainly, on paper, the most evenly matched, after they finished separated by just four standings points. Winnipeg will have home ice this time, and perhaps have an audience, at least a little.

If you believe rust is dangerous in the playoffs, the Canadiens have a quick turnaround and have some momentum. If you believe in rest, the Jets have had plenty of that. Either way, get ready for potentially the best series out of the North.

WEDNESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Canadiens at Jets, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 2: Golden Knights at Avalanche, 10 p.m. ET (COL leads 1-0) – NBCSN (livestream)

THURSDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET (Series tied 1-1) – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 3: Hurricanes at Lightning, 8 p.m ET (TB leads 2-0) – USA (livestream)

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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