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.
• The Jets will be without their top offensive player for the next four games.
• Colorado looks to remain perfect this postseason in Game 3 vs. Vegas.
• Want to catch up on all of Thursday night’s playoff action? Check out the NHL Playoff Buzzer.
For the second year in a row the Jets are going to be without their top offensive player, Mark Scheifele, for a significant portion of their postseason.
A year ago they played in the bubble without Scheifele and Patrik Laine for three of the four games against the Flames in their Qualifying Round defeat.
Starting with Friday’s Game 2, they are going to be without Scheifele for the next four games as he sits out due to a suspension the NHL Department of Player Safety handed out for charging Jake Evans. The absence of he and Laine a year ago was a significant factor in their loss to the Flames as they managed just six total goals in the four-game series without them.
With Laine now in Columbus and Scheifele suspended, they are going to have to again deal with a major loss in offensive production at the worst possible time of the season.
It could prove to be a major turning point in their season and prevent them from making a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Over the past two years no Jets player has been within 15 total points of Scheifele offensively, while he finished 13 points ahead of Kyle Connor, the second-leading scorer on the team, this season. He was one of only two players on the roster (Connor being the other) to top at least 46 points.
Through the first five games of the postseason, where the Jets have gone 4-1, Scheifele has averaged a point per game and again been one of their top offensive players.
His absence in the playoffs a year ago (he played just three total minutes in the series) proved to be too much for Winnipeg to overcome. Now they have to try and figure out how to do it again over the next four games against a Montreal team that has a goalie, Carey Price, playing at the top of his game. It is not going to be easy.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]
Even with Scheifele in the lineup Winnipeg had minimal margin for error this postseason. Three of their four wins in the opening round against the Oilers were one-goal games decided in overtime, while the fourth win (a 4-1 win in Game 1) was a one-goal game until the Jets scored two empty-net goals in the closing minute. They needed to rely on Connor Hellebuyck to carry them and keep games close long enough for the offense to find that extra goal. Scheifele played a major role in getting that extra goal as he has been on the ice for eight of their 17 goals so far this postseason (most on the team), and had a direct hand in five of them (tied for the most). That is not something you can just easily replace.
It is not something that will definitely keep them from advancing, but it is a rather significant — and unnecessary — hurdle that they are going to have to overcome in this Second Round matchup. If Scheifele could have simply kept his head about him and not delivered that hit on Evans they would still have their top offensive star and perhaps been the favorite to represent the North Division in the Semifinals. Now, already facing a 1-0 series deficit, the odds just became a little bit longer.
FRIDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 2: Canadiens at Jets, 7:30 p.m. ET (MTL leads 1-0) – USA Network (livestream)
Game 3: Avalanche at Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (COL leads 2-0) – NBCSN (livestream)
SATURDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 4: Hurricanes at Lightning, 4 p.m. ET (TB leads 2-1) – USA Network (livestream)
Game 4: Bruins at Islanders, 7:15 p.m. ET (BOS leads 2-1) – NBC (livestream)
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.