WINNIPEG – Just like that the Winnipeg Jets season is over.

After tying a franchise record with 52 wins, winning the William M. Jennings trophy (for the team that gives up the fewest goals) and finishing fourth overall in the NHL, the Jets fell in five games to division rival Colorado.

Obviously, Game 5 was the best the Jets played in this series, but it was too little, too late. Winnipeg just couldn’t get to their game fast enough in order to slow down the Avalanche attack.

“Right now, it’s just disappointing and frustrating. It feels like a missed opportunity. But the only way that there is any good from this is that we learn from it, and we actually look at how we can improve as individuals and as a group,” said Josh Morrissey who scored three times in the five games.

“Because they brought that Stanley Cup-winning class to this series, and we didn’t return it for three or four of those games. We have levels that we need to find this offseason. I hope it stings for all of us into the summer and we use it as motivation.”

Winnipeg went out in five games last spring as well, but while there are similarities in how their seasons ended in 2023 and 2024, Jets head coach Rick Bowness sees growth from his group this time around.

“Now, why it took until the fifth game to get there – we’ll have to answer those questions. But we will. And we’ll grow from it. We grew a lot. You compare this team to last year, honestly there’s very little comparison,” said Bowness.

“This year’s team is much better. Much tighter. And we made a lot of huge strides. We did. It didn’t show itself in the first four games. I know that. I get that. So that’s something we all have to live with. That’s something we all have to answer to. But, again, it’s growth. And we’ll take it from there.”

Connor Hellebuyck was announced as a Vezina Trophy finalist on Monday and will more than likely win his second Vezina in June. For those who didn’t watch this series, they will look at the 30-year-olds numbers (1-4, 5.23 GAA and .864 SV%) and will believe that Hellebuyck was part of the problem. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

“I'm not going to put any blame on Helly, that's for sure. You know, we wouldn't be where we're at right now if it weren't for him. The way he's played all year, go through a lot of those goals and tell me if he could have stopped them,” said Morrissey.

“I certainly don't put any onus on him or any individual player on our team. We win as a team we lose as a team, and we all need to look internally this summer and find ways that we can get better. We just played a recent Stanley Cup winning team, a lot of those same pieces there.”

Even with all the championship pedigree on the other side, Winnipeg had won eight straight heading into the postseason. They had added Sean Monahan, Tyler Toffoli and Colin Miller to amplify their roster. They were four lines deep and had a solid defence group. Everything just felt different when the playoffs began.

“There are no moral victories in this league. I think we got back to the foundation of being a real solid defensive team and we thought we were going to give ourselves a great chance with that identity to go on a long run. Unfortunately, we couldn't play that game consistently enough. It's not for a lack of trying or a lack of effort,” said Jets captain Adam Lowry.

“I think everyone in this room shows up and they put their best foot forward. The Avs did a really good job forcing us to try and play their game. We weren't able to kind of impose our will and impose our style. It's definitely a disappointing result. I think with the pieces we added we felt we could play with any team in this league, and with the goaltending we have. So, it's going to be a long summer, a disappointing one. This one's going to sting for a while.”