The Winnipeg Jets executed a perfect game plan Friday night when they defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Perfect until the very end, that is.
Don Cherry took issue with how the Jets reacted in the final seconds, and shared his thoughts on it Saturday night.
“They’re so used to losing they get a little giddy because they won the game,” Cherry said of the Jets. “[Minnesota] was all set to go to sleep, fold the tents up just silently…”
That’s when a fight broke out and woke them up.
With less than 10 seconds left in regulation—and not long after Zach Parise ruined Connor Hellebuyck’s shutout bid with a power-play goal—a scuffle between Daniel Winnik and Brandon Tanev sparked a full-on line brawl.
“I’ll tell you one thing, they got the team stirred up,” Cherry said.
“I said before the game, before the series started, [the Jets] were gonna win,” Cherry said. “They’ll still win, but they just made it harder on them.”
Cherry’s comments Saturday were similar to his sentiments directed at Pittsburgh earlier this week, when he took issue with the Penguins’ 7-0 Game 1 humiliation of the Philadelphia Flyers. As predicted, the Flyers exacted revenge in Game 2 to even up the series on Friday.
“Bruce Boudreau is the happiest guy in the world to see this,” Cherry said of the late-game scuffle between the Jets and Wild. “Bruce, he’s got something to work on, just like Philly had something to work on.”
Cherry pointed to Boudreau’s comments addressing the emotions of the game during his media availability:
“It’s not a series until you get a hate-on for each other and I think that was created near the end of the game,” Boudreau told reporters. “Not even the fighting, just the chirping going on back and forth. It’s a rivalry now.”
Game 3 goes Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.