St. Louis Blues (2-0) vs Winnipeg Jets (0-2)
Connor Hellebuyck (34-23-3) vs Jordan Binnington (24-5-1)
NHL Playoff Hockey Sunday April 14 2019 7:30pm Est. (Enterprise Center)
Line and Odds: St. Louis -160 Over/Under — 5.5
FREE NHL Score St. Louis Blues vs Winnipeg Jets
The Blues struck out on home ice advantage on the last day of the regular season and were faced with an uphill battle in third place of the Central Division, but have now flipped their odds, taking both games on the road in Winnipeg and giving themselves a prosperous path to the next round. The first math-up of the series saw St. Louis stifle Winnipeg after allowing a first period goal to Patrick Laine. Tyler Bozak scored with under three minutes to go and gave them the win. Game 2 was much more of a back and forth with both teams holding leads at one point but Ryan O’reilly’s early third period tally to break a 3-3 tie stood as the game winning goal.Tonight os the first game to be played in St. Louis with no guarantee of a return to Winnipeg.
St. Louis has been able to keep their regular season momentum going thus far in the post-season, continuing their trend of solid goal-tending and timely scoring. Through 2 games the Blues have 5 different goal scorers accounting for 6 goals, with only Oskar Sundqvist scoring multiple times, both in Game two.
Rookie Goalie Jordan Binnington has not looked the part of a rookie so far in this series. His save percentage of .926 through the two contests is on par with his .927 performance during the season and he has stood tall during the biggest moments as well, shutting out Winnipeg in both games’ third periods and making a couple miraculous saves in the dying moments of game one. He also became just the fourth goalie since 1987 to win both of his first two playoff starts. In short, he doesn’t look nervous.
As the Blues seem to continue what they started in the regular season, unfortunately so do the Jets. After a disappointing 3-5-1 finish to the year, Winnipeg has dug themselves a hole not many teams are able to escape from. Teams down 2-0 in any playoff series have only won 14% of their series and that number only slightly goes up for teams with home ice advantage going into the series at 18%.
While the Blues have benefited from Binnington’s strong performances, Winnipeg is asking for more from their starter Connor Hellebuyck. The team’s shot totals are nearly identical but Hellebuyck ranks in the bottom five of playoff goalies with a .897 save percentage and has been slightly lambasted for not being able to make big time saves.
The Jets biggest positive is that their big time players in front of the goalie are showing up, as Patrick Laine has scored in both games and both defense-man Dustin Byfugilen and Captain forward Blake Wheeler have posted three points in the two games. A little more help on the back end would make this series look much differently.
St. Louis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
St. Louis is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of St. Louis’s last 17 games at home
St. Louis is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Winnipeg
Winnipeg is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games
Winnipeg is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Winnipeg’s last 6 games
Winnipeg is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing on the road against St. Louis
FREE NHL Prediction Winnipeg Jets vs St. Louis Blues
St. Louis has taken both games one and two but neither were a run away by any means and tonight should be no different. Hellebuyck recent performances are a cause for concern but if he is able to return to form the Jets can easily steal the game tonight or even go back home with the series tied. St. Louis has been on fire on home ice, wining their last six games but the Jets have performed admirably in the Arch City in recent history so I do not think home ice will play as big a role as you would imagine. I expect them to come out hungry and desperate and I think Winnipeg will get a much needed goal-tending boost and steal tonight’s match, earning themselves a Game 5.