Hellebuyck believes Jets are close to becoming 'a dynasty'
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was confident in his team's future Wednesday after being swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the playoffs.
"We're very close to being able to make runs and being a dynasty," Hellebuyck said as the Jets cleaned out the lockers.
The 28-year-old, who won the Vezina Trophy last season, had a .931 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average in the postseason. He was, however, outdueled by Carey Price, who limited the Jets to six goals in the second-round series and just three over their final three games after a 5-3 loss in Game 1.
"I think we've got to find a way to be a little bit harder to play against," forward Andrew Copp said Wednesday when assessing his team's exit.
The Jets season came to abrupt end as the Canadiens completed their sweep in overtime on Monday night. The Jets had previously swept the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs with three overtime wins.
"Nothing that happened this year was a fluke," Hellebuyck said referring to the team's first-round success.
Winnipeg reached the playoffs for a fourth straight season this year, earning their first series win since reaching the conference finals in 2018. The team has missed the playoffs just twice under head coach Paul Maurice, who was hired in 2014.
"It's very unusual, even in Europe to have the same coach for so long. It just shows what kind of coach, what kind of guy Paul is," said forward Nik Ehlers, who broke down the injuries he played through on Wednesday. "I think everyone on the team is very happy with the way he coaches us."
"I've been on teams where the coach has lost the team and the message isn't received," captain Blake Wheeler added. "That has never happened with Paul."
Wheeler, who just completed his 13th NHL season, also restated his commitment to the franchise on Wednesday.
"I'm going to give everything I have to this team and this city for the rest of my career," Wheeler said. "I hope that ends with raising the Stanley Cup."