I was on a mission Sunday. I wanted to find some evidence that would tilt the upcoming North Division Final squarely in Winnipeg’s corner going into special 10th Anniversary Day for the franchise on Monday.
But all I came up with was running the risk of being the porcupine at the balloon party.
Let me explain.
Read next: Former NFL player Jessie Lemonier dead at 25
Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven playoff format for all rounds in 1986-87, there have been 10 instances where a team that swept a series met an opponent coming off a seven-game marathon, in the next round.
That’s exactly the circumstance the Jets will find themselves in against either the Leafs or the Habs on Wednesday night.
But in six of those 10 times, the team that went the distance has won that matchup — including the last five in a row.
Here are the facts:
- Boston and Carolina versus Columbus and the Islanders respectively in the second round in 2019
- Carolina 10 years earlier in a second-round upset of Boston — Paul Maurice could tell you all about that one
- New Jersey in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final versus Anaheim
- Colorado versus St. Louis in the 2001 Western Conference Final
- Previous to that, Toronto did it as well in 1993, when the Buds came off a seven-game victory over Detroit and knocked off a well-rested St. Louis team in another seven-game thriller that saw Games 1 and 2 both decided in double overtime
So the Jets will definitely try to snap that streak. A Game One win Wednesday Night would go a long way toward achieving that. In those 10 “sweep vs. deep” scenarios, the winner of the series opener is 8-2.
The message should be pretty clear when the puck drops two days from now, be that at Bell MTS Place or ScotiaBank Arena.
Series since 1986-87 between teams coming sweeps vs. opponents coming off seven-game grinds:
- 1987 Western Conference Final: Edmonton defeats Detroit 4-1 (Advantage Sweep)
- 1990 Western Conference Final: Edmonton defeats Chicago 4-2 (Advantage Sweep)
- 1993 Second Round: Toronto defeats St. Louis 4-3 (Advantage Deep)
- 1993 Eastern Conference Final: Montreal defeats NY Islanders 4-1 (Advantage Sweep)
- 1999 Second Round: Dallas defeats St. Louis 4-2 (Advantage Sweep)
- 2001 Western Conference Final: Colorado defeats St. Louis 4-1 (Advantage Deep)
- 2003 Stanley Cup Final: New Jersey defeats Anaheim 4-3 (Advantage Deep)
- 2009 Second Round: Carolina defeats Boston 4-3 (Advantage Deep)
- 2019 Second Round: Boston defeats Columbus 4-2 (Advantage Deep)
- 2019 Second Round: Carolina defeats NY Islanders 4-0 (Advantage Deep)