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Tonight will mark the beginning of the 2018 NHL playoffs for the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild. While both have been on seemingly different paths to get here, Game 1 will offer them both fresh starts in the extra season. Dig in below for full times and channel listings.

Not many in the NHL world are giving the Minnesota Wild a chance. Heck, pundits are refusing to give them a shot against the Winnipeg Jets. A shot at the whole shebang? Forget about it.

And why would they? They aren’t what you’d deem a “sexy” pick. They aren’t a Boston or a Pittsburgh, they don’t go up and down the line with superstar talent.

Oh yeah, and they lost their best defenseman (and one of the best in the game) in Ryan Suter, who is out for the season with a fractured leg. That all spells trouble for Minnesota.

But check out this article on the reasons why they truly have as legit a chance as all others, and you might start to believe. You might start to wonder why anyone really has them kicked to the curb already. For facts, they did lose three of four to Winnipeg in the season series.

But as every fan knows, the playoffs are a growling beast with no resemblance to October through March.

Jets vs. Wild: Game 1 TV schedule

Date: Wednesday, April 11

Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Location: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg


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Minnesota, who did end the year with 101 points in the monstrous Central Division, should see this is a fantastic opportunity. Game 1 is a chance to come out swinging and punch the Jets in the teeth.

But Winnipeg isn’t going to take it lightly. There’s a reason they ended with 114 points and the second best goal differential in the NHL. They are loaded everywhere. From Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler, to rugged and unmovable defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and star goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. They feel it’s their year and rightfully so.

We can’t pretend it won’t be an uphill battle for the Wild. With the loss of Suter, it’s going to be all hands on deck in every single game; Defenseman Matt Dumba, top scorer Eric Staal, Devan Dubnyk. They have to be at their best from the first shift on.

Can they do it? Of course. Will they? Well, this game is going to go a long way towards determining the fortitude Minnesota possesses within themselves.

Should they happen to storm the castle and shock the Jets tonight, in Winnipeg no less, you better believe fans are going to take notice. The tired cliché is that anything can happen, but it’s true. Win the first one, you’re in the driver’s seat.

Each series is often long with many twists and turns, sure. But if the Wild want any chance at taking down Winnipeg, it starts in the first game. Momentum is incredible. Grab it right away, or you could be smoked in short order.

For more from the NHL playoffs, make sure to follow FanSided and stay tuned to our NHL hub for all the latest news and results.

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