Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site

Jets Opponents

Following is a brief look at the Jets history against each of their league opponents:


Alberta Oilers Edmonton Oilers
This franchise, known under the two names, lasted through the entire history of the WHA. Early on in the series, the Jets had trouble with the Oilers, but as time went on, they began to beat the Oilers regularly. The Oilers spoiled the Jets first ever home game, winning 5-2 in Winnipeg on October 15, 1972. There were two post-season series between the two teams, the Jets winning both. In 1976, the Jets swept Edmonton 4-0 in the first round, and in 1979, the Jets beat the Oilers 4-2 in the last AVCO Cup Finals.
Chicago Cougars
The Cougars were a charter franchise that the Jets handled with relative ease until the Cougars folded following the 1974-75 season. The Jets won all 11 games the teams played in Winnipeg and 15 of 22 overall. Of particular note in this series was the return of Bobby Hull to Chicago, where he had starred for so many years with the Blackhawks.
Cincinnati Stingers
The Stingers were an expansion franchise that began play in 1975-76 and survived through the final season of the WHA, only to be one of the two teams paid by the other four teams to fold. The Jets did fairly well against the Stingers, winning 21 of the 36 regular season meetings.
Cleveland Crusaders Minnesota Fighting Saints
The Crusaders were the last of the charter 12 franchises and though the Jets had little trouble with the Crusaders in Winnipeg, it was the exact opposite when the Jets travelled to Cleveland. The two franchises combined for a .500 record against each other, which the Jets only achieved by beating version 2.0 of the Minnesota Fighting Saints twice in 1976-77 prior to their demise.
Houston Aeros
Though the franchise was originally slated for Dayton, OH, they never played a game there and were always known as the Houston Aeros on the ice. The Aeros were a frequent opponent during regular season play, but even more so in the playoffs, where the Jets met the Aeros in four different series. The Jets swept the Aeros 4-0 in the 1973 Western Division Finals, but the Aeros returned the favor in the 1974, sweeping the Jets 4-0 in the first round. The Jets swept the Aeros 4-0 in 1976 to capture their first AVCO Cup, and beat the Aeros again in 1977, 4-2 in the Western Division Finals. After the Aeros folded following the 1977-78, they sold the contracts of Scott Campbell, John Gray, Morris Lukowich, Rich Preston, Terry Ruskowski and Steve West to the Jets. This group would play a significant role in the Jets final AVCO Cup championship in 1979, while Lukowich and Campbell would go on to play for the Jets in the NHL.
Denver Spurs Ottawa Civics
This was an expansion franchise that began play in 1975-76, played in two different cities, and didn't make it through the season. The Jets only played the franchise four times, winning all four, three against Denver, one against Ottawa.
Indianapolis Racers
The Racers were an expansion franchise that began play in 1974-75 and folded midway through the 1978-79 season. They proved an easy mark for the Jets, who won 25 of the 34 regular season meetings. After the Racers folded, goaltender Gary "Suitcase" Smith was picked up by the Jets and backstopped them to their third AVCO Cup championship.
Los Angeles Sharks Michigan Stags Baltimore Blades
The Sharks were a charter franchise that lasted two seasons before moving to Detroit for the 1974-75 season. During the 1975-76 season, the Michigan Stags folded and were moved to Baltimore and known as the Blades. Wherever they played, the Jets had their way with them, winning 16 of the 22 games played between the Jets and Sharks/Stags/Blades. Early on in this series, the Sharks had tried in vain to physically pummel the Jets, a tactic that failed miserably.
Minnesota Fighting Saints
The Fighting Saints (version 1.0) were a charter franchise which gave the Jets some trouble throughout the four seasons of their existence, particularly so in Saint Paul, where the Jets won only 3 of 13 regular season meetings. The Jets won the only playoff series between the teams, winning 4-1 in the first round of the 1973 playoffs.
New England Whalers
This charter franchise, based in three different cities, lasted through the entire history of the WHA and had an extensive history with the Jets. The regular season meetings between the two teams were fairly evenly split and often were premiere matchups, on account of the fact that the two teams were among the league leaders most of the time. Twice they met in the AVCO Cup Finals, each team winning once. The Whalers beat the Jets 4-1 in 1973, the Jets swept the Whalers 4-0 in 1978.
New York Raiders New York Golden Blades Jersey Knights San Diego Mariners
This franchise, known under four names and calling three different cities home, was a charter franchise that gave the Jets some difficulty, mostly away from Winnipeg. The franchise closed out its existence with an epic playoff series against the Jets, with the Jets winning 4-3. Each team held serve at home, but the Jets, having the home ice advantage, prevailed in the first round matchup. The New York Raiders hosted the Jets in the first game for both teams, with the Jets winning on that night by a score of 6-4 on October 12, 1972.
Ottawa Nationals Toronto Toros Birmingham Bulls
This charter franchise, based on three different cities, lasted through the entire history of the WHA, lasting long enough to be one of the two teams paid to fold by the remaining four teams, and had an interesting history with the Jets. The Jets were fairly successful against the franchise, which included a 4-1 series victory in the first round of the 1978 playoffs. Though the Jets won for the first time with Bobby Hull in their lineup against the Ottawa Nationals, the most colorful games between the two teams came when the franchise was located in Birmingham. The "Brawling Bulls" provided plenty of pugilistic entertainment, particularly when Steve Durbano was in the Bulls lineup. Some of the most memorable games the Jets ever played took place when Birmingham was in town, and the chant of "Birmingham Stinks" resonated in the Winnipeg Arena until the venerable old building was demolished.
Philadelphia Blazers Vancouver Blazers Calgary Cowboys
This nomadic team was a charter franchise that called three different cities home before folding following the 1976-77 season. The Jets, for the most part, had their way with this franchise, particularly in Calgary, where they were 10-1-1 in Winnipeg with the Cowboys as the visitors. The Jets played the Cowboys in one playoff series, winning 4-1 in 1976 in the semi-final round. The Philadelphia Blazers, led by former Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson, were the first team the Jets defeated on home ice in their first season.
Phoenix Roadrunners
The Roadrunners were an expansion franchise that began play in 1974-75 and lasted through the 1976-77 season. The Jets had some trouble with the Roadrunners, finishing with an 8-10 record in regular-season play.
Quebec Nordiques
This franchise, originally granted to San Francisco, lasted through the entire history of the WHA and battled the Jets often and hard. Bobby Hull's first game as a Jet came in Quebec, where the Nordiques beat the Jets 3-2. The two teams played in the 1977 AVCO Cup Finals, as the Jets lost a hard-fought 4-3 series in Quebec. The Jets swept the Nordiques in the first round of the 1979 playoffs en route to their third and final AVCO Cup championship.


Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
This expansion franchise which began play in 1993-94 proved to be a major thorn in the side of the Jets and their fans. On the ice, a 2-10 record spoke volumes, but more fans remember the so-called "trade" that saw the Jets give Teemu Selanne away to the Ducks for a sack of magic beans. The Jets never won in Anaheim and their last defeat there cost the Jets home-ice advantage in the first round of the 1996 playoffs.
Atlanta Flames Calgary Flames
The Jets lost all four games they played against the Atlanta Flames, but the real history between these two teams occurred after the Flames moved to Calgary for the 1980-81 season. Early on, the Jets also had trouble with the Calgary Flames, as they were victims of the likes of Ed Beers and Rejean Lemelin, but that changed quickly. The Jets didn't always beat the Flames, but when they didn't win, most often, it wasn't due to lack of effort. It almost seemed as though the Jets' definition of a perfect road trip was a win in Calgary and a loss in Edmonton. Consequently, it was no accident that the only team that the Jets defeated in an NHL playoff series was the Calgary Flames. The Jets won a memorable series in 1985, 3-1, despite losing Dale Hawerchuk to a vicious Jamie Macoun cross-check in Game 3, and defeated the Flames again in 1987, 4-2. Sandwiched in between was a three-game sweep by the Flames in 1986.
Boston Bruins
The Jets were little more than cannon fodder for the Bruins and were very hospitable opponents. The most noteworthy item in the series between the teams was that Raymond Bourque scored his first ever goal against the Jets on October 11, 1979, the first ever meeting between the teams.
Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres proved to be one of the most formidable opponents the Jets would face. The Jets held their own in Winnipeg, but were able to win only 2 of 23 regular season meetings in Buffalo. During the 1980-81 season, the Jets resorted to the enlisting the services of a witch doctor to put a hex on the Sabres. Even that failed to give the Jets a win. Of note in this series was the return of Dale Hawerchuk after the blockbuster trade that sent him to Buffalo in exchange for Phil Housley.
Chicago Blackhawks
The Jets would be forever linked to the Blackhawks before the two teams ever played each other on the ice. It was the Blackhawks' superstar, Bobby Hull, who defected to the WHA and gave the league the credibility it needed to get off the ground. On the ice, the two teams were division rivals for one season, and the Jets won only 24 of 68 regular season meetings. In Chicago, the Jets won only 5 of 31 meetings.
Colorado Rockies New Jersey Devils
If there was a franchise the Jets lived to beat, this was it. Whether they were the Rockies or the Devils, the Jets made sure to come away with a win. Though this team wasn't very good early in the Jets NHL years, they became a good team, but the Jets mastery of them never ceased. The Rockies were the opponent at the Jets first ever NHL home game, not surprisingly, a game won by the Jets. The Devils were the opponent for the infamous John Ferguson Snow Game that the Jets won easily by an 8-1 score on November 9, 1986.
Detroit Red Wings
The Jets were able to hold their own against the Red Wings, even in later years as the Red Wings became more respectable. The Jets last opponent was the Red Wings, who beat them 4-2 in the first round of the 1996 playoffs, though Nikolai Khabibulin and the Jets were stubborn opponents.
Edmonton Oilers
The Jets, quite simply, rolled over and played dead at the mere sight of the Oilers once they joined the NHL. They lost playoff series to the Oilers in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990, winning a total of four games, three of which came in the 1990 series, where the Jets blew a 3-1 lead. The Jets fared no better during regular season play in an endless series of embarrassing defeats.
Hartford Whalers
Despite the extensive history between the two teams in the WHA years, little materialized between the renamed Hartford Whalers and the Jets besides some really boring hockey. The Jets finished four games under the .500 mark in 48 regular-season meetings.
Los Angeles Kings
The Jets played the Kings frequently on account of being a Smythe Division rival but had few memorable moments from the extensive quantity of matchups. The Jets often played a pair of games when travelling to Los Angeles, as a travel concession when the Jets agreed to move to the Smythe Division for the 1982-83 season, but that's about the most noteworthy item that came from this series. The Jets won more than they lost, but still produced some less than exciting games with an often mediocre opponent that the Jets would often play down to the level of.
Florida Panthers
This expansion franchise that began play in 1993-94 had little history with the Jets. The Jets won 2 of 5 regular season meetings.
Minnesota North Stars Dallas Stars
The Jets and North Stars had a budding rivalry until the Jets moved out of the Norris Division after the 1981-82 season. The North Stars and Jets still met annually on Boxing Day and may have been one of the best rivalries in the NHL that never came to pass on account of the switch of divisions. The Jets did not fare well against the North Stars, and any semblance of a rivalry ended when the Stars moved to Dallas. The Jets worst NHL defeat came at the hands of the North Stars by a 15-2 score on November 11, 1981.
Montreal Canadiens
Seeing a Montreal uniform was an instant command for the Jets to roll over and play dead, which they happily did on many occasions. The Jets won only 10 of 46 regular season meetings, and only 2 of 23 games in Montreal. The Jets didn't even score their first goal in Montreal until January 15, 1981 and didn't win there until February 23, 1984. What little success the Jets had against Montreal came on the nights of the “Tuxedo Night” promotion, which was promptly discontinued.
New York Islanders
The Jets' matchups with the Islanders were highly anticipated early on in the Jets NHL history, due to the Islanders run of Stanley Cup championships during that era, and the Jets were able to hold their head above water against the Islanders, though they still lost more than they won. The Jets first NHL shutout came on February 12, 1980 in a 0-0 tie at the Nassau Coliseum.
New York Rangers
The Jets still lost more than they won against the Rangers, but fared better against them than many of their other eastern neighbors. Ironically, the Jets won 6-4 in their first visit to Madison Square Garden as members of the NHL, the same score that they beat the New York Raiders by in their first visit there as members of the WHA. This series also had the additional backdrop as being John Ferguson's former employer, and while employed there, had lured Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson away from the Jets.
Ottawa Senators
This expansion franchise that began play in 1992-93 was a pathetic group in its early years, which the Jets were able to exploit with a 6-1-1 record all-time.
Pittsburgh Penguins
The Jets fared poorly against the Penguins, despite the fact that the Penguins iced very poor teams for a good portion of the time the Jets were in the NHL. The Jets didn't win a game in Pittsburgh until October 12, 1983 and won only 16 of 47 regular season meetings. Of note in this series was how frequently games would be televised from Pittsburgh in the early days of the Jets NHL history, despite how few games were televised locally overall.
Philadelphia Flyers
The Jets had little history with the Flyers, nor did they beat the Flyers all that often. They did win 16 of 47 regular season meetings, 10 of those wins coming in Winnipeg.
Quebec Nordiques Colorado Avalanche
This former WHA franchise had little history with the NHL Jets. The Jets held their own against the Nordiques, but any rivalry that the two franchises had during the WHA years did not materialize in the NHL.
St. Louis Blues
The Jets held their own against the Blues over the years, and for one season, they were a division rival. The Jets first post-season experience came against the Blues, when the Jets lost the best-of-five series 3-1 in 1982. Peter Sullivan scored his last goal as a Jet on April 5, 1981 against the Blues to tie the game at 5-5 and thwart the Blues' attempt to finish first overall in the NHL that season.
San Jose Sharks
Despite getting the opportunity to play this 1991-92 expansion franchise in its infancy, the Sharks proved to be a stubborn opponent for the Jets, as the Jets were only one game above the .500 mark in 28 regular-season meetings.
Tampa Bay Lightning
This expansion franchise that began play in 1992-93 had little history with the Jets. The Jets won 5 of 8 regular season meetings.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs were always a popular draw in Winnipeg, but they were even more popular with the Jets players, as the Jets had relatively good success against the Leafs over the years. Even in the 1980-81 season, where the Jets won only two road games all season, both wins came in Toronto.
Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks were a frequent opponent and produced some of the most boring and ugly displays of NHL hockey that the Winnipeg Arena ever saw. The Jets often played down to the level of their clutch-and-grab opponent, and as a result, lost more than they won. The two teams met twice in the playoffs, in 1992 and 1993. The Jets lost 4-3 in 1992 after blowing a 3-1 lead, then lost 4-2 in 1993. Tensions boiled over between the teams when Mike Peca took out Teemu Selanne, touching off a fight-filled evening.
Washington Capitals
The Jets had little history against the Capitals, other than that the Capitals won more than they lost against the Jets, particularly so in Washington. The Jets did not win their first game in Washington until December 7, 1984, and won only five games there overall.