Jets looking to even series against Blues
Have the Winnipeg Jets finally achieved liftoff? Or are they not quite ready for flight?
Despite a dominating performance in Sunday's 6-3 victory to pull themselves back into their first-round playoff series with the St. Louis Blues, the visiting Jets still have plenty to answer Tuesday in Game 4.
The Jets still trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven affair. Once considered a Stanley Cup contender, they have struggled for months, unable to string together victories or stay at the top of their game for extended stretches. Time will tell whether Sunday's effort means Winnipeg has finally turned that corner, or if it will take another step backward.
"We're building every shift, every game throughout the series," said Jets winger Kyle Connor, who scored two goals in the Game 3 win. "We're getting closer to our game, and it's pretty dangerous."
After the Blues took both games in Winnipeg to kick off the series, the Jets were in must-win territory. They delivered a strong start-to-finish performance, justifying their belief that they were just as good as their opponents in the first two games.
"It was good to get rewarded," Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. "Obviously (a 3-0 series deficit) is a bad hole to get into. We stayed with the game plan, stayed with what we've done the whole series so far, and just got a little bit more rewarded."
Unquestionably, playoff wins and losses are more emotional, but the Blues have every right to feel confident. They are still up in the series, and Game 4 is on their turf -- even if all three games in the series have been won by the road team. Besides, counting their finish in the regular season, St. Louis has won 10 of its last 13 games.
"There's no panic in here," forward David Perron told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've just got to look at some video, talk about things (Monday). We'll be fine. It's one game. Whether you win 7-0 or you lose 1-0, it's worth one right now. Got to give them credit, they played a good game."
"We made a good push there for a little bit, but we just didn't start the way we wanted to," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo added. "We knew they were going to come out (and) it just wasn't us from the start. We had some good pushes, but overall we need to do better."
Seeing as both teams finished the regular season with 99 points, it makes sense this would be a closely contested series. What makes the difference between moving onto the next round or a quick exit remains to be seen, but both teams are aware they must find another gear.
"I liked our first two games maybe more than I let on -- I just didn't want to sound like we were happy about losing hockey," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "I didn't think we were that far off. We played well. This is going to be a good, tight and probably seven-game series."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 16, 2019