The Winnipeg Jets Stanley Cup playoff run is on the line tonight (8:30 p.m.) at Canada Life Centre. The Jets host the Colorado Avalanche in game five of their opening round series. The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven three games to one after beating Winnipeg 6-2 and 5-1 this past weekend in Denver. Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov sustained a fractured left cheek bone on Sunday after taking a deflected puck to the face. He has not been ruled out of tonight's game five with Winnipeg facing elimination. Defenceman Brenden Dillon will not play in game five as he recovers from a cut on his left hand that he incurred in game three.

Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy which is awarded “to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position”. Hellebuyck, the 2020 Vezina Trophy winner, finished top-five among NHL goaltenders in wins (2nd: 37), shutouts (T-5th: 5), save percentage (2nd: .921), goals-against average (4th: 2.39), games played (3rd: 60), shots against (2nd: 1,798), saves (2nd: 1,656) and minutes (3rd: 3,567). The Commerce, Michigan native backstopped the Jets to second place in the Central Division and won the Williams Jennings Trophy as the goaltender (min. 25 GP) on the team allowing the fewest regular season goals. Hellebuyck, 30, allowed three or fewer goals in 50 of his 60 total appearances, including a pair of 10-game streaks with two or fewer goals against. He became the third goaltender in NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to post multiple such stretches in a single season. Hellebuyck, Winnipeg’s fifth round pick (130th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season and the fourth time overall (winner in 2019-20 and finalist in 2017-18 and 2022-23). The other finalists are Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks. 

Steinbach Pistons forward Grady Hoffman has been named a finalist for the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year award. The 18-year-old Yorkton native led all rookies in scoring with 28 goals and 21 assists in 53 games. His 28 goals were good enough to finish sixth in the league, which included five game-winners. Hoffman was voted as the Kim Davis Award recipient as the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year and was named to the MJHL’s Rookie All-Star Team.

Canada will play its final preliminary round game today (11 a.m.) against Kazakhstan at the World U18 Hockey Championship in Finland. Team Canada has a 3-0 record and has clinched first place in Group B. 

The Winnipeg Goldeyes have re-signed outfielder Max Murphy. One of the most prolific run producers in American Association history, Murphy was named the league’s Player of the Year following the 2022 campaign. The 31-year-old native of Robbinsdale, Minnesota hit 26 home runs in 2023 – tied for second place in the circuit. Murphy finished the season among the league leaders in runs batted in (84), at bats (391), games played (99), total bases (213), extra-base hits (48), and slugging percentage (.548). Murphy has been named to multiple mid-season and post-season All-Star teams during his time in the league, which has spanned six seasons and 504 games. He enters the upcoming season just one home run shy of 100 in the American Association. Winnipeg now has 22 players under contract for the 2024 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 30 players during spring training, which begins May 1st.