Despite losing the opening two games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs one home ice, the Central Division’s second place team travelled south to St. Louis, where the Jets’ best players came out to play Sunday night, doubling up the Blues 6-3 in one of the best efforts by Winnipeg in some time.
Led by Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine and Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets picked up an all-important first win in their 2019 postseason, battling back after falling behind once again. With 26 saves on 29 shots, Jets’ goaltender Connor Hellebuyck collected a much needed victory for Winnipeg, bringing the Jets to within just one game of the series-leading Blues.
After falling behind on a late first period strike by David Perron, Kevin Hayes collected his first goal of the playoffs on a long-range point shot that redirected past Jordan Binnington five minutes into the second frame. Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor then scored just over a minute apart, giving Winnipeg three goals in a span of 2:59 in the second period.
With the Jets seemingly finding a way to solve Binnington, St. Louis sniper Vladimir Tarasenko gave the Blues’ faithful something to cheer about as he put his first of the playoffs past Hellebuyck just a couple minutes into the final stanza. But three minutes later Brandon Tanev finished off a nice give-and-go play with linemate Andrew Copp, before Dustin Byfuglien fired a wrist shot from behind the goal-line off Binnington’s head and into the Blues’ net.
Winnipegger Alex Steen gave St. Louis life once again with a late third period goal, but Connor put the finishing touches on a Jets’ victory with five minutes to play as he potted his second goal of the game on a nice Mark Scheifele setup play. 12 Jets picked up points on Sunday, while four put up multi-point efforts (Copp, Connor, Laine, Byfuglien).
With goaltender Binnington seemingly ‘figured out’, Winnipeg will enter Tuesday evening’s game with a raised sense of hope and determination, likely resulting in another onslaught of offensive chances from the team trailing two-games-to-one. Puck drop from Enterprise Center is set for 8:30 PM central on Tuesday evening. The game will be available to view on Sportsnet.