One of the Jets' greatest nemeses of all time
Rejean Lemelin played goal in the pros for nearly two decades. He was never spectacular, but he had a very distinguished career, one that he can be very proud of.
Had he played the Jets more often, however, his bust would no doubt be front and center at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto alongside the greats of the game.
Lemelin began his NHL career with the Atlanta Flames and moved with the team to Calgary following the 1979-1980 season. It was there that he quickly developed a mastery over the Jets.
Lemelin first faced the Jets in November 1980 and won his first three decisions against them. Many goaltenders looked good against the 1980-1981 Jets, a team that set records for futility that stand to this day. However, the Jets improved tremendously after that dreadful season. But that success against other teams and other goaltenders would not translate into any more success against Lemelin. The seeds of a hex were planted.
Losses against Lemelin and the Flames continued to pile up despite the Flames' mediocrity in the years following the franchise's move from Atlanta. By the time the two teams had first met in a playoff series in 1985, Lemelin had a gaudy 15-2-4 record against the Jets.
In a surprising reversal of fortune, the Jets beat Lemelin in three of four games to capture their first NHL playoff series win.
It looked as if Lemelin's magic against the Jets had run its course.
Over the course of the next two seasons, the Jets held their own in the games in which they faced him, posting a 4-5-1 record. It was nothing to brag about, but they had proven that they could at last beat him on a consistent basis.
The Jets faced him for the final time as a Flame in the first round of the 1987 playoffs. They tagged him with a 4-2 defeat in the series opener and his career in Calgary came to an unceremonious end in Game 6. Lemelin relieved Mike Vernon and finished the game that the Jets won by a score of 6-1.
Fresh off their second and what would prove to be their last NHL playoff series victory, the Jets thought that the mystery of Reggie Lemelin had been solved. Finally.
Unfortunately for the Jets, Lemelin moved on to the Boston Bruins, where he would once again weave his mystical powers to confound the Jets. Over the next five seasons, Lemelin posted a 7-2 record against the Jets, capping a career in which he dominated the Jets more than any other NHL goaltender.
All told, Lemelin's regular season record against the Jets stood at 27-8-5 at the time of his retirement. That retirement could not come soon enough for the Jets.
For Jets fans everywhere, Reggie Lemelin's name will live in eternal infamy.