For additional insight into the Western Conference First Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.
Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.
When teams squeak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fighting through the last portion of their schedule to clinch a postseason berth, it can give them momentum when playoff hockey begins.
It also can create a late-season grind, and that's something Frederic Chabot said finally might have caught up to the Winnipeg Jets in their Western Conference First Round series four-game loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
"The big players for Anaheim were their best players, and it looked like to me that there were some leaders on Winnipeg who were not 100 percent because the four-line or three-line attack of Anaheim constantly won battles and established a forecheck and created scoring chances," Chabot said. "Winnipeg didn't quite do that. At the end of the day it was a better playoff team for Anaheim, and more rested.
"The playoff drive for Winnipeg took its toll."
Jets coach Paul Maurice said his players were dealing with a number of significant injuries after Game 4. The Ducks were one of the first teams to clinch a playoff berth and had the Pacific Division all but clinched for the final two months of the season. Now the Ducks will get a chance to rest and recuperate before playing either the Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks in the second round.
Chabot said that creates a delicate situation for Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.
"There's always two sides to things like that," Chabot said of the extended rest. "Maybe on the first game next series it's going to be really important to be really prepared and see lots of shots in the previous days before the game to make sure that he's sharp, feeling good, feeling fresh, and feeling up to the speed of the playoffs.
"Also he gets to rest, which means if he goes a long way, like I think Anaheim can, it's going to be beneficial to him at the end. He's going to be rested, there's going to be less wear-and-tear, and it's going to be good for their older players."
The Ducks, who had a League-high 33 wins in one-goal games during the regular season, won two one-goal games in their sweep of the Jets. They also won three of their four games when trailing after two periods. But as was the case during the regular season, Chabot said the Ducks stuck to their game plan, something that will help them in the later rounds.
"It seems like they've done it all year," Chabot said. "They've won a lot of one-goal games; they've come from behind almost 20 times now.
"They're used to that. There's no panic. There's lots of good veterans all over the lineup and they just stick with it."