WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets have had a couple of days to digest that their season ended abruptly, after bowing out in five games to the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The feeling obviously is the same as Tuesday night. Disappointed, missed an opportunity. There is a big difference between facing a team that was on its way to winning a Stanley Cup as opposed to one that had won just two years ago and was desperate to get back.

“We just didn’t execute well; we didn’t play well. I think you have to tip your hat to Colorado for playing a very good series, I am not going to take anything away from that group over there,” said Dylan DeMelo.

“I thought they had a really strong series, they played really well, they’re intensity was really high — they went to the net harder than us, special teams were better than us, they were on the puck faster, they were just better in all aspects... just a lot of questions for sure on why it happened. There needs to be some time to kind of evaluate everything — everything’s on the table, for sure... like we got to improve everything.”

Mark Scheifele finished a playoff series for the first time since 2019, he was injured in 2020 and 2023 and received a four-game suspension in the second round in 2021. The 30-year-old led the Jets in scoring with six points (2G, 4A). Scheifele carries a lot of respect for the Avalanche elite players like MacKinnon, Rantanen and Makar.

“We saw firsthand the abilities that team, that those guys, first and foremost have and obviously they're skilled players. But I know them personally and they go home every summer, and they give it their all,” said Scheifele.

“They don't leave one stone unturned on improving their games and taking care of their bodies and eating the right things and doing all that and they put a big emphasis on their team to be at their best every night. And I think that's a great lesson to learn.”

Scheifele’s linemate, Kyle Connor was asked about the possibility that there is a different feeling in the group this year as opposed to when they lost to Vegas in five last year.

“I mean, we’ve won two playoff games in the last two years. It’s a pretty similar feeling,” said Connor.

“You could say the way we lost - I think we played one of our best games in Game 5 - we put up a pretty good fight and we played well; we switched up a lot of things and you could see the results right away. You can kind of find a silver lining in that, but at the same time it’s a results-based business here. Two wins, we need better from everybody, myself included.”

Tuesday night, Jets head coach Rick Bowness was quick to point out that despite going out in the first round in two consecutive springs, there was growth between this team and last year’s group. But there is some concern with his team not being at its best when the games matter the most.

“If you compare the two years, Game 5 last year in Vegas was a no-show. This year, we were down a goal, we fought back. Down a goal, we fought back. We kept fighting back. There was growth there,” said Bowness.

“There will also be growth knowing that we didn’t play our best, knowing that the things that were our strength during the regular season, we got away from when it counted the most. Now, again, give Colorado a lot of credit. We had a tough time dealing with their pace. They played a lot faster and a lot harder. We had a tough time dealing with that. A lot of that is execution. The players will grow from this.”

Clearly, next season a big key will be continuing to grow and getting over this hump and finding a way to turn playoff frustrations to playoff celebrations.

“I think if you ask the teams that did, they look at probably their failures or, for us, why haven't we been able to put playoff success together the last number of years... And, going back prior to that, when we do lose a game or two in the playoffs, how are we not able to get out of that streak and keep one loss at one loss instead of turning it to two, three, or four in a row,” said Josh Morrissey.

“I think we need to look at all aspects of it, whether it's our preparation throughout the season, the mental side of the game... As I mentioned the other night, I think the execution, how we can all be better as individual players on the ice, that would be how I think that we handle it right now."