Second-period goals four minutes apart by Kevin Hayes, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor sent the Winnipeg Jets off and running to a 6-3 road victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night, pulling them right back into the opening-round playoff series.
Having lost the first two games at home, the Jets would have faced long odds if they also dropped Game 3, but their victory pulled them to within 2-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs series. Game 4 will be Tuesday in St. Louis.
With his team trailing 1-0 after the first period, Hayes started the Jets’ outburst 4:57 into the middle frame. He gained the puck at the blue line and simply wristed it toward the net, only to see it somehow find the mark past St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Laine’s third goal in as many games put the Jets ahead for good. Laine, who struggled down the stretch of the regular season but has erased those issues, was left alone at the doorstep and had no trouble converting the deke at 7:47.
Just 71 seconds later, Connor made it a 3-1 game with a power-play goal, threading a top-corner shot from the right faceoff dot.
Vladimir Tarasenko gave the Blues a bit of life with a power-play goal of his own 1:51 into the third period to make it a one-goal game, but the Jets pulled away for good soon after.
Brandon Tanev completed a give-and-go with Andrew Copp by redirecting the crossing pass at 4:25 of the third period, and then Dustin Byfuglien made it a 5-2 game at 8:06 when he banked a sharp-angled shot off Binnington’s mask and into the net.
Blues veteran Alex Steen scored at 13:42 of the third period to make it 5-3, but Connor netted his second of the night 62 seconds later to round out the scoring.
David Perron also scored for the Blues, collecting a power-play goal late in the first period.
Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for the Jets, while Binnington stopped 23 shots in the loss. The rookie previously hadn’t allowed more than four goals in a game this season.
–Field Level Media