5 Takeaways From Jets’ 5-4 Game 3 Loss to Golden Knights

It was a heartbreaker in downtown Winnipeg on Saturday, as the Winnipeg Jets fell 5-4 in Game 3 to the Vegas Golden Knights in a double-overtime thriller. With the win, the Golden Knights take a 2-1 advantage in the series.

In one of the games of the year so far, the Jets and Golden Knights combined for an electric contest that featured early fights, series-altering injuries, and a remarkable third-period comeback. The Jets, trailing 4-1 in the third period, went on a tear and eventually tied the game with 22 seconds remaining in regulation. After playing an exciting first overtime, the Golden Knights spoiled the Jets’ comeback hopes early in the second overtime, winning 5-4.

With several games yet to go, it’s exciting to imagine what these two teams might do in the rest of the series. With that excitement in mind, here are five takeaways from Game 3.

5. Josh Morrissey Loss Tough to Overcome

Starting on an unfortunate note, Jets’ star defenseman Josh Morrissey left this one early and didn’t return. It appeared to happen on a collision with Golden Knights’ defender Zach Whitecloud and while it looked harmless, Morrissey appeared to be in a great deal of pain as he left the ice. To make matters worse, Jets’ coach Rick Bowness announced after the game that Morrissey will miss the remainder of the series, which is a massive loss for the team.

Now, without their top defender, the Jets will need to figure out how to approach the remaining games on the back end. They’re now missing a top defender and a top forward and need to find a way to recover from a series deficit.

Replacing Morrissey, to put it lightly, is impossible. He finished second in the league in defensive scoring this season, tallying 76 points in 78 games. The playoffs are a different story, but any time you lose a player with such talent, it becomes a massive hole to fill. The Jets will need to look for players to step up in order to keep them in this series.

4. Adam Lowry Continues to Roll

While he may not have been everyone’s first choice for a series standout, Adam Lowry has found another gear for the Jets. After burying the tying goal with just 22 seconds remaining, Lowry now ranks second in playoff goal-scoring with four goals.

Adam Lowry Winnipeg Jets
Adam Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates his late third-period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Three of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lowry has asserted himself as a leadership figure for the Jets and has proven how valuable he can be to the team both on and off the ice. He’s composed, driven, and seemingly up for any challenge. Most recently, his biggest challenge is his line being the go-to line to match up against the Golden Knights’ best players.

Related: Jets vs Golden Knights 2023 Playoff Series Preview

As the line with the most difficult task, Lowry and his linemates, Morgan Barron and Mason Appleton, have proven worthy of such a challenge and have provided the team with a ton of energy. This game was no different, and while his goal wasn’t scored with his linemates flanking him, Lowry single-handedly blew the roof off of the Canada Life Centre with his game-tying goal.

3. Penalty Kill Finally Cracks

After beginning the series with a perfect penalty kill on all seven Golden Knights attempts, the perfection ended on a Jack Eichel goal in the first period. It was the first of two power-play goals allowed by the Jets in Game 3, with the other also being scored by Eichel.

The Jets did manage to kill three more penalties in the game, including two in the overtime periods, but it was the first sign that the Golden Knights had begun to figure out the Jets’ kill. On both goals, the Golden Knights found a way to get the Jets off balance, moving the puck from low to high, ending up in the left circle where Eichel ripped both of his goals.

The Jets will need to watch out for these plays moving forward, as the Golden Knights may look to exploit the lanes they found in Game 3. That said, it’s hard to complain about what we’ve seen from the Jets’ penalty kill this season, and they will look to lock things down going forward.

2. Unfortunate Bounce a Blemish on Great Defensive Play

After the Jets lost Josh Morrissey early, it was up to the remaining five defenders to step up and fill the void. Neal Pionk played over 40 minutes, while Dylan DeMelo and Brenden Dillon played over 30 minutes. Another player who saw a bit of a minute bump was Dylan Samberg, and while his unfortunate turnover cost the Jets the game in overtime, it shouldn’t overshadow an otherwise good game for the rookie.

Dylan Samberg Winnipeg Jets
Dylan Samberg, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Samberg’s double overtime turnover was ultimately just a bad bounce at the worst possible moment. In an attempt to play it to the wall, the puck deflected off of Ivan Barbashev’s skate and directly to Michael Amadio for the game-winner. It’s a play that maybe happens a few times a game and regularly amounts to nothing, but this was a situation where it amounted to everything. It came after a great game for the first-year defender and ended a game where all Jets defenders played some of their best games of the year.

Samberg was obviously distraught as he left the ice, but he has to continue to play to the level that made him so successful this season. Now, with Morrissey out, Samberg will see consistent minutes and will have a chance to make up for the unfortunate ending to Game 3.

1. Inconsistency Hurts Jets Early

The Jets have looked like several different teams in the first three games of this series, and Game 3 was no different. Having dominated the first four periods of the series, the Jets shocked everyone when they began to struggle in the second period of Game 2. Then, Game 3 began with sheer dominance from the Golden Knights. Who are the Jets, and why can’t they consistently string together performances?

The Jets finally snapped back into gear in the third period of Game 3, but they had four periods of hockey where they looked entirely lost. If they’re to pull this series back even, they’ll need to identify what’s been working, and what they were doing when they were getting buried by the Golden Knights.

The Jets have a chance to head back to Las Vegas with the series tied, but that involves a lot of extra effort from players who might be asked to give just a little more. With Morrissey out for the remainder of the series and Nikolaj Ehlers without a set return date, the Jets have the odds stacked against them.

They’ll have a chance to knot the series back up on Monday, April 24 when they face off in Game 4 against the Golden Knights at 8:30 PM CT. That game may very well determine the direction of the series, and it should be yet another exciting matchup.