This series marks the first time the Jets and Oilers have faced off in the playoffs in more than three decades, but the history between the rival squads has been heavily weighted toward the Alberta team.
The Jets, in their previous incarnation, lost six playoff series to the Oilers — five of which eventually saw Edmonton winning the Stanley Cup.
The last meetup, until now, was a memorable 1990 series that saw the Jets take a 3-1 series lead — including an iconic Dave Ellett goal at the Winnipeg Arena in double overtime.
Although Winnipeg eventually lost the series, coming within a game of eliminating the dynastic Oilers remains a high point in local hockey history.
Things, however, have changed in the three decades since that matchup. Not only are the Jets 2.0 a completely different franchise, playing in a league that has seen considerable expansion, but the game itself has also changed — and so has the world.
If you were around in 1990 — and only a handful of players on both teams were born before then — you would have experienced the world going through significant changes, including the formal ending of the Cold War, German reunification and the release of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela after 27 years.
It was also the year the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, the election of future Prime Minister Jean Chretien as leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, the formation of the Bloc Québécois and the introduction of the GST as law.
While you’re reading this online 31 years later, in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee began work on developing and testing the World Wide Web, creating the first-ever web server.
In entertainment, 1990 saw top-grossing films like Ghost, Pretty Woman, Home Alone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while radios everywhere were blasting hits like Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U, Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby, MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This and Madonna’s Vogue.
It was also the birth year of some of today’s biggest celebrities, including Canadian pop star The Weeknd, actors Kristen Stewart and Margot Robbie, tennis star Milos Raonic and Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares.
Of the current Jets squad, only a half-dozen players were born by 1990, with the oldest, Paul Stastny, only five years old at the time.
Game 1 of the 2021 Jets/Oilers series starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, as the Jets try to break the Oilers curse three decades later.