Preview: Jets at Blues
The St. Louis Blues can advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday night at home against the Winnipeg Jets, after a furious third-period rally netted their third road victory of the series and a 3-2 series lead. Down 2-0 entering the final period in Game 5 on Thursday, the Blues stunned Winnipeg on Jaden Schwartz’s goal with 15 seconds to play for a 3-2 victory, and now the Blues look to become the first home team to win a game in the series.
“We’ve still got one more job to do on Saturday,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told the media after St. Louis survived allowing a goal 12 seconds into the game and a four-minute Jets power play midway through the second period, drawing even on Brayden Schenn’s goal with 6:08 to play. Winnipeg has made a habit of blowing third-period leads all season - nine in the regular season and two in the series - and this one was the most costly as Adam Lowry’s opening goal and a Kevin Hayes tally 13:35 into the contest staked the Jets a 2-0 lead. Winnipeg finished 0-for-3 on the power play and is 1-for-9 in the past three games. “If we lose, we’re done,” Hayes told reporters afterward. “That’s enough motivation. Game 6 will be our best game.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet; FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE JETS: Winnipeg’s top line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler were pointless in Game 5 after combining for 10 points in the Jets road victories in Games 3 and 4. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26-of-29 shots, giving up Schenn’s goal that was upheld after video review as the goal came off its moorings, and the game-winner after Jacob Trouba failed to clear the defensive zone with time running down. “Tough to eat that one, but I thought we were the better team,” Hellebuyck told reporters postgame. “If we keep fighting here, it’s not over.”
ABOUT THE BLUES: Center Ryan O’Reilly started the St. Louis comeback with his second goal of the series on a power-play marker 1:29 into the third, and Schenn - dropped to the second line - redirected Tyler Bozak’s pass out of the air and by Hellebuyck for the stunning game winner. Rookie Jordan Binnington, coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, steadied himself after the two early goals to finish with 29 saves. “We need to find our game at home, play the same way as playing here,” Blues forward Oscar Sundqvist told the media afterward. “Play tight, play fast. That’s what we need to do at home.”
1. Winnipeg lost F Nikolaj Ehlers to an undisclosed injury after he blocked a shot in the third period of Game 5 and will be a game-time decision Saturday, Jets coach Paul Maurice told the media Friday.
2. St. Louis made the most of its chances in the final period of Game 5, scoring three times on eight shots.
3. The series marks the fourth time the road team has won the opening five games of an NHL best-of-seven series, and the first since the 2004 Western Conference finals between Calgary and San Jose.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Jets 2