Since the Winnipeg Jets returned to Manitoba, no single win to date has meant more to the direction of the franchise moving forward than the 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday.
What we witnessed in Game 2 of the Jets’ Stanley Cup qualifier was more than a team facing adversity and skating to success — it was the passing of the baton to the Jets’ next wave.
Jansen Harkins was inserted into the lineup due to injury and scored in his playoff debut.
Kyle Connor led the team in ice time. Adam Lowry had his first-ever multi-point playoff game. Nik Ehlers — in the 23rd post-season game of his NHL career, scored his first-ever playoff goal that stood as the game-winner.
Andrew Copp was elevated from pinch hitter to first-line centre. Jack Roslovic delivered a pair of assists.
Each player skated away from the game feeling like they were a major contributor to the win. They’re responsible for the success of the team as much as any other player on the ice — including the day-to-day stars.
That feeling, that memory, could push each player to a new level — and perhaps even the next series.