In a series where teams have not separated much in the first five games, the Blues, with Jaden Schwartz leading the way, made a definitive statement in a 3-2 victory over Winnipeg on Saturday night that gave the Blues a 4-2 series win the jets
The Blues will play the winner of the series between Nashville and Dallas. Dallas leads that series 3-2 with Game 6 on Monday in Dallas. The Blues would have ice at home if Dallas wins the series and opens on the road if Nashville wins. If Nashville wins, the series will not start until Friday. If Dallas wins, it will depend on the speed with which the other first round series were completed.
Schwartz scored a 'hat trick', with one goal in each period, when the Blues overwhelmed the Jets, outstripping them 16-1 in the second period, as they dominated the game for long periods of time.
It was the first time the home team had won in the series and the first time the winning team had not followed. It was also far from where the Blues were at the start of the third period in Game 5, when they lost 2-0 and were 20 minutes behind 3-2. Instead, Ryan O & # 39; Reilly, Brayden Schenn and Schwartz, with 15 seconds to play, scored when the Blues scored a dramatic victory and gave the Jets a shot in the gut.
"It makes it more special," goalkeeper Jordan Binnington said of the series closing at home. "It's a series and it was good to win it in front of our audience here after losing the last two (games). We're excited and we rest a little here and prepare for the next series."
"We talked about bringing that momentum from the third period of Game 5," said coach Craig Berube. "And I think the guys did it, we mentioned it yesterday, we talked about it today, they had good energy and they played hard, it's a difficult game."
Schwartz only had 11 goals in a tough regular season, which was marked by long stages without goals. After scoring the winner of the game in Game 5, he now has four in the postseason.
"It's definitely good to help and take a step forward," Schwartz said. "We played a great team game today, we did not give much, we worked hard, our D was great, I thought our strikers were very difficult and frustrated, that was the most important game of the year for us." We played aggressive and we were standing on our toes.
"Sometimes, when the discs do not go in, the network does not look that big, when you get a bounce or sometimes you have a break, you can drag that in. It almost seems like the network looks bigger. sport is great ".
"Sometimes pucks just do not come in," Berube said. "It's not because of a lack of chances, but I think he increased his game in the last two games, getting to the sandy areas a bit more and was awarded tonight with a 'hat trick'. match is on the network. "
Schwartz got the first goal only 23 seconds in the game to set the tone and then the second in a power play in the second period, taking a backhand pbad from Tyler Bozak from behind the goal and shooting through a maze of bodies . Jets goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck thought he was interested in the play, but Winnipeg could not challenge because they had used his challenge unsuccessfully in the first goal.
"Sure you want to have that positive mindset," Schwartz said. "The first two games at home were not what we planned, we want to be aggressive, you do not want to lie against these guys, but we know it's a long game, we know they scored on their first turn in their building. You have to put a total of 60 insurance. "
Schwartz completed the first & # 39; hat trick & # 39; of the Blues' postseason since Vladimir Tarasenko had one against Minnesota on April 18, 2015 in the third period. Brayden Schenn won a showdown, Ryan O & # 39; Reilly grabbed him from the boards and threw Schwartz, who was able to brake, maneuver around a Jets defender and score for his fifth career hat trick. It was his second & # 39; hat trick & # 39; this season. He had one on March 19 against Edmonton.
From that goal, with 16:05 to finish the period, it was a matter of closing the game. Winnipeg ruined the bid by dismissing Binnington on a goal by Dustin Byfuglien with 7:43 to enter the game.
Schwartz got the first goal when he put a rebound after a charge to the Schenn net. He hit the puck from the fold, giving him two goals in 38 seconds, separated by two days.
The Jets pulled Hellebuyck with 2:39 to play, but Blake Wheeler got a four-minute penalty 28 seconds later when he tried to avoid a breakup by Oskar Sundqvist. Winnipeg scored a short goal with 37.7 seconds to play for Bryan Little that became an interesting final of a few seconds. The last gasp occurred in a match with two seconds left, which O & # 39; Reilly won and Alexander Steen grabbed the puck to run time.
The Blues closed the offense of Winnipeg, limiting the team to only six shots on goal in two periods.
"That was amazing," Binnington said. "Most of them made it very easy for me, we played very well and it was fun to see them there, they were relentless throughout the game, the room was excited and positive and they believed each other, that was a great victory. "