WINNIPEG – Over the course of Connor Hellebuyck’s career – which could include a second Vezina Trophy when the National Hockey League gives out its annual awards at the end of June – there is a long list of times he’s backstopped the Winnipeg Jets to victory.

Since the start of 2017, he has the second most regular season victories (236) and has faced the most shots (13,147) all while playing the most minutes (24,790:12) of any goaltender in the league.

So the fact he couldn’t figure out a way to have another legendary performance during the series against the Colorado Avalanche, one that could put his team in the win column and potentially change the momentum in the series, is something still eating away at the 30-year-old.

“Specifically, Game 4, the afternoon game I was — you ask (assistant coach) Marty (Johnston) — laser-focussed. From the second I woke up I was ready to steal a game,” said Hellebuyck. “This kind of was my mindset going into every single game, but especially in Game 4. And when I got pulled to give me more rest, it was like a flood of emotions I had suppressed all series long.”

Hellebuyck is known for his confidence. It’s a critical asset that makes him the special goaltender he is - one that helped bring the William M. Jennings Trophy to Winnipeg after the Jets allowed a league-low 198 goals against in the regular season.

But just because he’s confident, it doesn’t mean he’s immune to the ups and downs of the series. That rare glimpse into his emotions after the second period in Game 4 shows how much the Commerce, Michigan product wants to push the Jets to the next level.

With a bit of perspective that comes from being only two days removed from being eliminated, Hellebuyck already knows what kind of mental shift he’ll have to make going into next season.

“That was the realization that, I can't do this alone. And I'm not saying that I needed to do it alone. That was my mindset, I needed to do this alone,” Hellebuyck said. “That was the realization that I need to be part of this team more than I am, and to take everything onto my shoulders — and that’s, I'm talking me personally, that’s not me talking against the team — it’s just the way my mentality is, I’m trying to put everything on my shoulders. I don’t think that’s the right way to go about playoffs anymore.”

Head coach Rick Bowness has seen that mentality from Hellebuyck the last two seasons. While the trait of trying to steal games on a nightly basis is an admirable one – and no doubt part of the reason Hellebuyck has become a premiere goaltender in the NHL – Bowness knows it can be a lot to carry.

“We’ve taken pride all year in our team game, that’s what carried us, and he was a big part of our team game. I think it’s an example of a player putting a lot of undue pressure on himself that he had to make a difference,” Bowness said. “We’ve always made sure that we’re trying to improve the defensive play in front of him to help him out, which we have done over the past two years. What matters now is we didn’t do it when it counted the most and that’s when he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself.”

Hellebuyck tried to find anything in video to help find a way to halt the Colorado offence. As is his usual routine, he’d go over video after every game to find any other extra saves he could make.

Colorado had 55 high-danger chances in the series at five-on-five, and Hellebuyck stopped a number of those, but he was looking for more.

“I’m not going to go and tell you I don’t want to be better. I absolutely need to be better if we’re going to win,” Hellebuyck said. “When I’m watching video and looking back on my game and I'm not seeing a goal like, ‘oh, I’ve got to have that.’ That’s usually the easiest way to fix something, is like, ‘OK I can have that, I'm going to stop that next time.’ When I'm looking at these things and I'm really nitpicking myself now, ‘this is a good goal I’ve got to find a way to stop that.’”

Of the 97 blocked shots the Jets had in the series, Josh Morrissey was tied for the team lead with 12 (alongside Neal Pionk and Dylan Samberg), and came to the defence of his goaltender after the series.

He believes Hellebuyck’s realization of not having to win games all on his own, every single night, is a lesson that every member of the team can take to heart. By doing so, it becomes more about the strength of the collective, which can pay off in the postseason.

“The culmination of all the parts doing their collective jobs is stronger than any one individual trying to do too much or putting too much pressure on themselves. I think teams find a sense of calm in that,” said Morrissey.

“We all need to - even in the high-pressure moments when the lights get brighter - continue to be that much more confident in our game, raise our individual levels, but do our individual jobs and that’s all you need to do as an individual.”

Heartbreak was the word Hellebuyck used to describe his emotions going into the offseason. His new seven-year extension kicks in at the start of next season, and he hopes this painful moment is the hardest lesson the Jets have to learn.

“Your details have to be so fine-tuned by the time you make playoffs that there’s no room for error, there’s no room to find your game,” Hellebuyck said. “You’re emotionally almost disconnected, in the sense of, anything bad (that) is going to negatively affect you, you’re just, you’re playing your game. And I’d like to think that, I'm hoping that, this series kind of opened our eyes to the last piece of the puzzle to go on a long run.”