The NHL has four playoff games set for Sunday. All four games will be entering Game 3, which means that the home team is shifted. The St. Louis Blues will be heading up with a 2-0 series lead against the Winnipeg Jets. The first two games of the season series were tightly contested, and I expect Game 3 to be no different. This game is set to start at 7:30 PM Eastern time on CNBC.
The Jets finished in second place of the Central Division, which set them up with this first round matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Winnipeg had a 47-30-5 record to end the season. Winnipeg was struggling down the stretch to enter the postseason. The Jets lost five of their last seven games before the playoffs started. Winnipeg will look to get some momentum with a win on Sunday night.
St. Louis had an amazing storyline this season as they picked up the heat in the second half of the season to go from the last place of the standings to in the playoff picture. The Blues ended with a 45-28-9 record this season. St. Louis came into the playoffs winning eight of their last ten games and they have built off that to open up this series. The Blues will look to pull off a big win at home.
St. Louis will enter Sunday night’s matchup with the Jets with a 2-0 series lead. The Blues have put up two impressive road wins and will look to continue to ride that momentum on Sunday night. The Jets have been playing well in this series, but have come up short both times. Winnipeg will look to bounce back with a road win of their own.
The Jets and the Blues met up a total of four times throughout the regular season. Winnipeg dominated the first three games of the season series, winning all three by a combined score of 18-9. St. Louis was able to bounce back with a 1-0 win in the fourth game of the season series. All four games were early in the season though, meaning they did not see each after the Blues caught fire.
The first game of this playoff series was on Wednesday night. Patrik Laine opened up the scoring in the first period, but that was all the Jets were able to put up. David Perron and Tyler Bozak each tallied a goal in the third period to pull off the win. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 of 26 shots, but it was Jordan Binnington who got the win. Binnington finished with 24 saves on 25 shots to give the Blues a 2-1 win.
Friday night was when Game 2 was played in Winnipeg. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had a goal and an assist for the Jets. Dustin Byfuglien had two assists, but it was not enough. Oskar Sundqvist scored two goals, while Jay Bouwmeester put up two assists. Pat Maroon and Ryan O’Reilly each scored once to propel St. Louis to a 4-3 win.
Winnipeg was able to put up a 3-1 lead in the season series, but all four games came early in the season before the Blues figured out their game. St. Louis has come out with something to prove in this series, winning the first two games on the road. The Blues will look to grab a stranglehold on the series with a victory at home.
The Jets power play has been doing well this season, putting up a 24.8 percent throughout the regular season. Winnipeg’s penalty was a little below the league average throughout the regular season, stopping opposing teams around 79.2 percent of the time.
St. Louis has put up a nicely balanced special teams throughout this season. The Blues have been able to score on around 21.1 percent of their power play opportunities this season. St. Louis has been able to kill off around 81.5 percent of the power plays against them this season.
Winnipeg’s power play in this series has been doing well, scoring on two of their four attempts. The Jets penalty kill has not disappointed either, stopping all seven of St. Louis’ power play attempts. The Blues will look to get their special teams working at home, while Winnipeg will look for their special teams’ unit to help them get a win.
Connor Hellebuyck will start in net for the Jets on Sunday night. Hellebuyck put up a save percentage of .913 and a GAA of 2.90 in the regular season. In the first two games of this playoff series, Hellebuyck has a .897 save percentage and a GAA of 3.09. Winnipeg will need Hellebuyck to step up his game if they are going to dig themselves out of this hole.
Jordan Binnington will get the start for the Blues on Sunday night. Binnington did an amazing job in the regular season, posing a .927 save percentage and a GAA of 1.89. Binnington has carried those numbers into this series, putting up a save percentage of .926 and a 2.00 GAA in the first two games of this playoff series. He will look to put up a tough performance at home to keep it going for St. Louis.
These two goalies both have the ability to steal a game, but it has been Binnington that has been the better goalie so far in this series. Hellebuyck put up good numbers last season in route to the Conference Finals and he will need to do so again if the Jets want to dig their way out of this 2-0 series deficit.
The Blues are taking a 2-0 series lead back home, but I believe that Winnipeg will come out fast to try and avoid falling down 3-0. The Jets were able to keep the first two games really close and I expect them to look to do the same thing on Sunday night. Winnipeg has a strong offense and I believe that they could still find some life in this series.
BetOnline has St. Louis listed as a -155 against the money line, which implies that the Blues will win this game around 61 percent of the time. St. Louis is coming back home, but I believe that the Jets could steal a game. Winnipeg did not look super overmatched in the first two games and I believe there is a lot of value on them as large underdogs.