Top 10 Games in Jets History
The following is a list of, in my opinion, the top 10 games in Jets history. The criteria I've used in compiling this list include importance both on and off the ice. In addition, importance to the team and franchise at large was taken ahead of any individual player's accomplishments in a game.
||20 May 1979
||This was the final game in the history of the WHA, where the Jets won their third Avco Cup Championship, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4 games to 2. The championship crowned the Jets not only the best team in the 1978-1979 season, but, with their third Avco Cup, the undisputed title of the best team in WHA history. While the Jets and their fans celebrated this win, there was an air of anticipation of better times ahead, as the Jets, along with three other former WHA teams, were to enter the NHL and compete for hockey's ultimate prize against hockey's best teams. Regrettably, this game marked the last bit of true glory the Jets would ever achieve, further increasing the importance of this game in franchise history.
||12 October 1972
||@ New York Raiders
||This was the first ever game in Jets history. After much publicity and anticipation, the puck was finally dropped, something that many thought would never happen. Who was to know what the future would hold for this team or this upstart league, but this game got it all started. Christian Bordeleau was the offensive catalyst, scoring four of the six Jets goals, including the game-winner.
||27 May 1976
||On this day, the Jets captured their first Avco Cup Championship, defeating the Houston Aeros in a four-game sweep of the Avco Cup Finals. Not only was the championship special, but the Jets dominated throughout the 1976 playoffs, losing only one of 13 games played in all three series combined.
||22 May 1978
||New England Whalers
||The Jets captured their second Avco Cup Championship, defeating the New England Whalers in another four-game sweep of the Avco Cup Finals.
||14 April 1985
||@ Calgary Flames
||One night earlier, Jamie Macoun took out Dale Hawerchuk with a vicious cross-check that many Jets fans will never forget. On this night, the Jets overcame the loss of their star player and posted a 5-3 win over the Flames at the Saddledome in front of backup goaltender Marc Behrend to win their first ever NHL playoff series. This game easily represented the high point of the Jets NHL existence.
||10 April 1985
||5-4 W (OT)
||After the most successful regular season in their NHL history, the Jets opened the Stanley Cup playoffs at home against Smythe Division rival Calgary Flames. The game saw the start of a Winnipeg hockey tradition, the "white out", where fans would all come dressed in white, a tradition that would outlast the Jets themselves. In an emotionally-charged game, Brian Mullen deflected a point shot from Dave Ellett to give the Jets a 5-4 overtime win, and send them on to their first NHL playoff series victory.
||10 October 1979
||@ Pittsburgh Penguins
||Although the result was not favorable on the scoreboard, this was Jets first game in the NHL. The Jets had emerged from the fledgling WHA to now become members of the NHL. The name of Craig Norwich still brings a frown on the faces of those who witnessed this game.
||7 April 1982
||St. Louis Blues
||Like so many NHL playoff games, the result was not favorable, but this was the first NHL playoff game the Jets participated in. After emerging from two dreadful seasons, the Jets not only made the playoffs, but held home ice advantage in the first round against Norris Division rival St. Louis Blues. They would go on to lose the series 3-1, but this game marked the first time the Jets took the ice in pursuit of the Stanley Cup, a distant dream that seemed impossible at this time the previous year.
||12 April 1996
||Los Angeles Kings
||This was the last regular season home game in Jets history, and the Jets needed to win to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs and put the moving vans on hold for a couple of weeks. A sellout crowd saw the Jets narrowly escape with a win, sealed by Keith "Captain Weasel" Tkachuk's 50th goal of the season into an empty net. After the game, mass quantities of humanity stormed the exits to claim a free key chain and poster.
||28 April 1996
||Detroit Red Wings
||A disappointing result on the scoreboard, and an even more disappointing result off the ice, as this was the last game in Jets history. The Jets had lost to the Red Wings, 4 games to 2, despite the heroic efforts of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who was singlehandedly responsible for there even being a Game 6 in this series. After the game, the Jets came back out and circled the ice, waving good bye to the many fans who remained. Sadly, they were led by Keith "Captain Weasel" Tkachuk and not Kris King, who served as the captain for most of the season, since King had been injured in a prior game. Teppo Numminen was the last player to leave the ice, and after he left, many fans were jumping over the boards onto the ice, as Winnipeg Enterprises kept a watchful eye.