No Perrault in warmups for Winnipeg. Perhaps Tanev is the one replacing him?
Tonight the Blues will be looking to double their lead in their 1st round series against the Jets after winning 2-1 Wednesday night.
Wednesday’s game started with some fireworks right off the bat with Mark Scheifele running through Jordan Binnington as Binnington was returning to the net after leaving the puck for his defenseman.
Scheifele claims he was trying avoid Binnington and can try to justify it because of pulling his leg up and into his body before the collision but the reality is that Scheifele wasn’t going to take a longer line to chase Colton Parayko even if that meant bowling over the Blues netminder. Of course, Binnington also isn’t going to take a longer line to get back into the crease and give Scheifele a better line at pursuing Parayko. Like it or not, the onus is on Scheifele on this play to avoid the goaltender and he gets the deserved penalty. Of course, the Blues don’t convert on the power play.
Blues fans may have been a bit concerned with the hit and the impact it might have on the rookie netminder but Binnington responded more than adequately through the rest of the game.
With about six and a half minutes left in the 1st period, David Perron gets caught puck watching and Patrik Laine moves into space and Alex Pietrangelo makes a giveaway on a Bryan Little stick lift. Little then gets the puck to Laine who rips a wrist shot past Binnington’s glove.
The score would remain 1-0 through two periods thanks in large part to Binnington and his friendly red iron posts but the third period would be the Blues period, outshooting the Jets 10 to 7 and generating more chances.
A little over 4 minutes into the third period, the Blues would finally break through after an offensive zone faceoff win. The win would go to Colton Parayko who moves the puck back to David Perron at the point. Perron releases a quick seeing-eye shot that beats Connor Hellebuyck.
Tyler Bozak would have the Blues best chances in the remainder of the third period, first walking out with the puck from behind the net while Hellebuyck has no idea where the puck is. Hellebuyck isn’t even looking at Bozak who can score as long as he doesn’t shoot the puck into the goalie but the puck slides off Bozak’s stick and he never gets a shot off.
Later Bozak would have another glorious chance from the slot. As Helleybuck slides to his right he is barely able to reach back and get the shot to the left, making a strong save.
Then with 2:05 left, Bozak would score this game winning goal with the third time being the charm.
But the real play was made by Pat Maroon who went into Beast Mode and has been playing in Beast Mode along the wall for weeks now. Watch Maroon battle and make the pass.
Binnington would seal the victory with a brilliant save on Scheifele who would then make a late jab of his stick into Binnington’s legs and draw the ire of Alexander Steen and the other Blues yet again.
After the final horn, Scheifele again refuses to alter his skating line and skates into Steen who gives him a crosscheck as Scheifele skates into him. Scheifele retaliates with a left jab to Steen.
All of this ends with Craig Berube having words with some Jets on his way off the ice.
All parties seemed to downplay the events after the game but you can expect the intensity to be very high tonight.
In looking at key components to the series, the Jets have to be very happy their penalty kill outperformed their regular season play while the Blues have to get the power play going to make life easier. The Blues depth scoring outshined the Jets top end level talent. Laine stayed hot against the Blues and the goaltending was pretty even with both netminders playing well.
Both Joel Edmundson and Robert Bortuzzo didn’t see the ice in the last 6+ minutes while Zach Sanford didn’t even play 7 minutes. Overall the Blues forward minutes were pretty balanced with only Ryan O’Reilly over 20 minutes. The minutes on defense were about where you would expect with Pietrangelo leading the way with 25+ and Jay Bouwmeester and Parayko both over 20.
Interestingly, only Kyle Connor hit the 20 minute mark for Jets forwards. Josh Morrissey hit 17:15 in his return from injury.
It sounds like the Blues will try and not change the luck, going with the same lineup. Brandon Tanev will be back on the 4th line for the Jets tonight.
NHL Champions for Charity
Given that the Predators pulled out the division title, all be it not without some controversial officiating in the last couple of games, Best Buddies Tennessee https://www.bestbuddies.org/tennessee/
is the beneficiary. Best Buddies Tennessee is dedicated to establishing a volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a side note, I recently got to experience a Best Buddies even in the St. Louis area that was led by the Eureka high school football team. It was a lot of fun and brought a lot of joy to those involved.
It’s a great day for hockey.