Canadiens cruise to Game 3 win; Jets in danger of sweep

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The Canadiens are making it look easy at times, or maybe the Jets are just making it easy for them? Either way, after the Canadiens’ 5-1 win in Game 3, the Jets now look down the barrel of a demoralizing sweep.

For better or worse, the Jets must bounce back on Monday, or the Canadiens will pull off that sweep in Game 4 (8 p.m. ET; NHL Network).

Jets lose Game 3; Canadiens on verge of a sweep

To put things mildly, Marc Bergevin was busy last offseason. From Tyler Toffoli to Josh Anderson to Joel Edmundson and Jake Allen, there were some splashy commitments. Most of them look pretty good (if not great), especially under the spotlight of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

By comparison, signing Corey Perry kind of slipped under the radar, yet he’s coming through for Montreal. Less than five minutes into Game 3, Perry gave the Canadiens a handy 1-0 lead over the Jets.

Perry now has a point in five of his last six playoff games.

Considering how the Canadiens have been clamping down — first against the Maple Leafs, now against the Jets — getting the first goal was certainly relevant. It was a pretty quiet first period overall, and then the second must have felt downright oppressive for Winnipeg.

After Artturi Lehkonen made it 2-0, a Joel Armia shorthanded goal put Montreal up 3-0. Allowing a shorthanded goal couldn’t have helped a Jets power play that’s been positively punchless. (They came into Game 3 with an 0-for-5 mark in the series.)

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

When you consider some of the second period numbers, you’d think Montreal was the team on the ropes.

  • The Habs scored two of the period’s three goals (improving their lead to 3-1), and also generated a 16-5 shots on goal advantage.
  • Dig deeper and it won’t look much better. The Canadiens also generated a 6-2 advantage in high-danger chances at even-strength during the second period, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Following that one-sided second period, the Jets made some late pushes, but nothing overly threatening. In fact, the Jets made it even tougher on themselves to get back into Game 3 by taking some penalties, and the Canadiens made them pay with Nick Suzuki‘s PPG.

A risk of going out with a whimper — again?

During the 2019-20 playoff bubble, the Jets showed some heart in losing Mark Scheifele after a controversial Matthew Tkachuk hit. Then they ran out of gas, dropping their last two games to the Flames by an ugly combined score of 10-2.

This time around, Scheifele’s out because of that four-game suspension, but there’s legit concern that the story might end in a similar way.

Following this tepid effort in Game 3, the Jets are at risk of a sweep at the hands of the Canadiens. Maybe there would be more comfort if Carey Price was absolutely standing on his head.

While Price has been sharp, the Jets haven’t exactly forced the issue. That increasingly makes Montreal a dangerous opponent: they made it very difficult for the Maple Leafs, and now the Jets, to create chances. Then Carey Price almost always answered the bell during the occasions that opponents can break through.

For Winnipeg, it’s maybe first about playing for pride, then hoping you can claw back into this series. On the other hand, Montreal has incentive to close things out fast.

Sure, on paper, the Canadiens would be big underdogs vs. whoever wins the Golden Knights – Avalanche series. But what if Vegas ties that series 2-2 by winning Game 4 on Sunday?

Avalanche-Golden Knights stream coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Looking ahead a bit? Sure, but it’s up to the Jets to prove that they won’t be an easy out for the Canadiens; it rarely looked that way in Game 3.

JETS VS. CANADIENS (MTL leads 3-0) series livestream link

Game 1: Canadiens 5, Jets 3
Game 2: Canadiens 1, Jets 0
Game 3: Sun. June 6Canadiens 5, Jets 1
Game 4: Mon. June 7: Jets at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
*Game 5: Wed. June 9: Canadiens at Jets TBD
*Game 6: Fri. June 11: Jets at Canadiens TBD
*Game 7: Sun. June 13: Canadiens at Jets TBD

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.