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Tough night for Jets portends good things in 15-16

WINNIPEG – The Anaheim Ducks are the first team moving on in these playoffs as they came into a hostile environment the MTS Centre and took two games to sweep the Jets with a 5-2 win in Game 4.

The Jets took a big stride forward by becoming one of the hardest teams to play against as they have a no-quit attitude and will pound you into the boards with a relentless forecheck.

The Ducks were just a more experienced team and were also built to go deep into the playoffs. This was a very physical series although it was only four games there are a lot of sore banged up guys.

“We knew it was going to be a real battle,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I never expected it to be 4-0, quite frankly, in my wildest dreams.”

Every time the Jets would strike or get ahead in this series the Ducks would match with goals or big hits; momentum was always matched and that was a huge key. It was revealed that the Jets had at least eight guys playing with significant injuries throughout the series.

“We probably have eight significant injuries, four of those we brought into the series,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “We had a number of guys that couldn’t do parts of the games as well.

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“Anaheim was better than we were in this series,” Maurice added. “Those [first] three games were close. There’s luck in a game maybe in the series, but over a potential seven-game series, the best team almost always wins, and they were better than we were.”

Ondrej Pavelec was in goal for Winnipeg and stopped 30 of 34 shots.

“There’s a fine line between winning and losing in the playoffs,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. “They’re a team that went through those ups and downs last [season] and probably learned from that. So I think we take the experience we got this time, learn from it and next time we’re in this situation, we’ll handle it better.”

Frederik Anderson stopped 25 shots for Anaheim and also had to stay focused as the Jets fans broke out the ANDERSON .. ANDERSON chant throughout the game.

Jets got goals from Bryan Little and Mark Stuart.

Ducks goal scorers were Emerson Etem who scored what will be one of the top goals of these playoffs as he dangled around Jacob Trouba and beat Pavelec top corner on a nasty back hand. Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Kesler had a pair, Sami Vatanen added an empty netter to seal the deal for the Ducks.

“Good teams, they have to get scoring not just from their top line, but from all four lines, and we did tonight,” said Kesler, who had three goals and two assists in the series. “We’re going to need that the rest of the way.”

The Jets continued to be the more physical team again but just couldn’t find that extra goal to bury the Ducks in any game of the series including tonight.

“They just seemed to kind of have answers for everything we did,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said. “It was kind of the same thing all series. It was like every time we gained an inch, they came back with two.”

One thing for certain these Winnipeg fans proved to be the loudest fans in the NHL as they have been waiting 19 years for playoff hockey. They stopped the music in the third as the fans chanted GO JETS GO!

Quite the atmosphere and surely the Jets will look forward to next year and taking another step forward. There will different faces for sure but one thing will remain and that’s the culture and identity they have given themselves and their city.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “We didn’t want this to end. We’ve got a really good thing going. The guys battled all [season] to get in, and we did some really good things. We just weren’t able to get over the hump, but I’m proud of how everybody played. We battled until the end.”

Follow me on Twitter @hrank94

Read about games 1, 2, and 3, and see how our pre-series analysis stacked up to how this series turned out.