Game 1 of the best-of-seven playoff series between the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets will be played Wednesday or Thursday, with the official playoff schedule being released by the NHL later today.
Here are 10 things to know about the division rivals going into the series.
1. Winnipeg won three of four games during the regular season, including a game in Winnipeg in late November where the Jets erased a 2-0 deficit with 7 consecutive goals to tie a season high. Minnesota won 4-1 in their most recent game on Jan. 13.
2. Patrik Laine's 44 goals were second most in the NHL and Blake Wheeler's 68 assists were tied for the NHL lead.
3. Laine led the NHL with 20 power-play goals. Winnipeg scored on 23.4 percent of its power plays, good for fifth-best in the league.
4. The Wild will see a familiar playoff face in Paul Statsny. He was on the 2014 Colorado team that Minnesota beat in the first round and the 2015 and 2017 Blues teams that the Wild split postseason series' with.
5. Winnipeg bested the Wild in pretty much every baseline statistical category (power play, penalty kill, goals scored, goals allowed).
- PP% - Jets 23.4% (5th), Wild 20.4% (t-17th)
- PK% - Jets 81.8% (9th), Wild 81.3% (13th)
- GF - Jets 273 (2nd), Wild 250 (11th)
- GA - Jets 216 (5th), Wild 229 (11th)
5. Ironically, there's a youth hockey team in Manitoba, Canada called the Winnipeg Wild. They're competing for the TELUS Cup in Canada's national midget AAA championships.
6. This is the first postseason series between the two going all the way back to the days of the Minnesota North Stars, and Winnipeg is ready to embrace the hate.
"Once you get a couple of games under your belt, you really grow to hate your opponent," Statsny said this week, via the Winnipeg Free Press. "That’s the beauty of playoffs. Once you play a team once, then you always have that history with them and it never goes away."
7. Winnipeg and Minnesota had the best home records in the NHL. The Jets racked up 66 points (32-7-2) and the Wild earned 62 points at home (27-6-8). Pittsburgh (30-9-2) also finished with 62 points at home.
8. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has 21 playoff games under belt compared to zero for Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, whose last postseason experience came when he was just 20 years old and playing for Massachusetts-Lowell in the NCAA Tournament.
9. Minnesota's edge in playoff experience goes beyond the goalies. Wild players have experienced a total of 748 playoff games compared to just 265 for the Jets. Leading the way are Matt Cullen (123 games), Zach Parise (94 games) and Daniel Winnik (58 games), according to the Winnipeg Sun.
10. The flight from MSP Airport to Winnipeg are just 90 minutes, and because both teams play in the same time zone, we shouldn't see any crazy-late start times.