Winnipeggers took to their cars, honking, waving Winnipeg Jets flags and making sweeping motions with brooms as they celebrated the hometown hockey team’s sweep in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.
It took three periods of overtime for Kyle Connor to get past Edmonton Oilers’ goalie Mike Smith for the 4-3 win.
There was no crowd in Bell MTS Place because of COVID-19 restrictions, but that didn’t stop fans from coming out to celebrate.
“We’re feeling incredible for the Winnipeg Jets. Number 1 baby, yeah!” said Mathew Shorting, wearing a Mr. Incredible outfit and dancing on the sidewalk.
Waving a Winnipeg Whiteout towel from an earlier playoff run, Cynthia Betten-Court said the win means so much more because Manitoba is locked down.
“This good for the city. We need the morale, with what’s going on now, we need this,” she said.
“Everyone doubted us. Everyone outside the city didn’t think we could do this. We had faith in ourselves and now look at us, in the next round.”
It’s been more than three decades since these two teams last met in the NHL post-season.
In 1990, Edmonton beat the Jets in seven games in the Smythe division semi-finals, after the Jets took a 3 to 1 series lead.
In their original incarnation, the Jets lost six playoff series to the Oilers, five of which eventually saw Edmonton win the Stanley Cup.
Winnipegger Guy Lafleur, named after the former NHL hockey player, said this win was definitely worth the 31-year wait.
He and his two sons rode their bikes to Portage Avenue to join in the fun.
“Whoo,” he said, waving at the cars going by. “It’s awesome, the first sweep, man. Here with my boys, that’s the best, man! I had to come down here.”
“It was great, very intense. Both teams played really great,” Lafleur’s son Jaydence Longbottom said, adding his favourite player is Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Winnipeg now plays the winner of the Toronto-Montreal series.
The Leafs lead the series 2-1, with Game 4 tonight in Montreal.
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