Time: 7:30 CT
Radio: TSN 1290
The Winnipeg Jets served the hockey world a reminder that the cliché the playoffs are a different season, is accurate. After limping into the playoffs, and losing the first two playoff games on their home rink, many people counted the Jets out. Those many people did not include the players in the Jets’ dressing room, or coach Paul Maurice. The Jets unearthed the magic that carried them to the Western Conference finals last year, and managed two very impressive victories in St. Louis to even the series at 2 –2.
Connor Helleybuyck had his best game of the series in game four. All four lines (okay, primarily the top three) have contributed. Dustin Byfuglien has truly been an X factor in the series. And, let’s pour one out for Ben Chiarot. In order for Buff to be Buff, he needs to have a partner who will cover for him when he takes one of his forays to the front of the Blues’ net. Chiarot has been up to the task. Patrik Laine is starting to realize that being like Alexander Ovechkin does not mean just standing at the top of the circle waiting for passes – it means physically dominating, going into the hard places, getting loose pucks in order to create scoring opportunities.
Home ice has not been an advantage for either team so far in the series as the road team has won every game. The Blues are who we thought they would be. Jordan Binnington has been excellent. There are no soft goals forthcoming on him. Their top line is dangerous. Vladimir Tarasenko is a sniper. They will come out and play what Coach Maurice would call a “simple game” on the road. Hard, fast, patient.
The key to game four from the Jets perspective was to weather the storm in St. Louis. For game five at Bell MTS Place, the Jets need to ride the wave of the home crowd. I don’t surf, but a surfer friend of mine says that the biggest thing is the shock and panic when you feel the power of a wave. The key is to relax, enjoy, trust and let go. I would imagine the energy of the White Out crowd is a little like that. Invigorating, but anxiety provoking. Message to all Jets reading this – enjoy the wave. Play your game like you would on the road. Don’t let the crowd moments of extreme excitement or deflation influence anything.
Oh yeah, and beat the Blues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!