The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and one of the more surprising match-ups is the Winnipeg Jets vs St Louis Blues. On January 1, the Blues were in the last place in the NHL. No one expected them to come back from that and make the playoffs. Thanks to a franchise-record 11 game winning streak and rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington’s incredible season, the Blues managed to secure third place in the Central Division.
Winnipeg, on the other hand, started out the season strongly, but succumbed to injuries and has lost six of their last nine games, which dropped them down to second place in the Central Division.
Many think the Blues should have no trouble beating the Jets, but the Jets are actually 3-1-0 against the Blues this season. This is going to be heavy hitting and close series.
Here are three storylines to follow in this opening round series:
Winnipeg Jets vs St Louis Blues
While the Jets are 3-1-0 against the Blues this season, they are not 3-1-0 against Binnington. The two teams have not met since Binnington he was called up in December. Binnington has given the Blues a new found confidence. They play better in front of him than they do in front of Jake Allen and better than they did in front of Carter Hutton. Binnington is 24-5-1 this season with a .927 save percentage and 1.89 goals against average. If Binnington can keep playing like this even Winnipeg’s destructive offence is no match for him.
Winnipeg first liners Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele combined for 241 points this season. They each played 82 games. Blues first liners Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly combined for 199 points this season. Schenn missed 10 games and Tarasenko missed six games. If they had all played the same number of games, these numbers would be very close.
The Jets also have Patrik Laine, Jacob Trouba and Bryan Little who have put up over 40 points this season. The Blues have David Perron and defenceman Alex Pietrangelo who have put up over 40 points this season as well. Look for this to be a series with a lot of scoring chances per game. It’s going to be up to the defence and the goaltenders to ward off these goal-crazy teams.
Home vs. Away
The Jets and the Blues both ended the season with 99 points, but the Jets won the tiebreaker with more wins than the Blues giving them the home-ice advantage against the Blues. The Jets have a slightly better home record than the Blues do a road record. The Blues were 21-13-7 on the road this season while the Jets were 25-12-4 at home this season. The Blues might have done better with home-ice advantage. The Blues were 24-15-2 at home this season while the Jets were 22-18-1 on the road this season. But, these numbers are so close, it will be anyone’s game in both cities. It will be exciting to see who can win and where.
The Jets started the season looking like they were on track to win their first Stanley Cup, but it seems they are meeting their match in this round with a team that wants it more. The Blues did not come back from the dead to lose in the first round. The Blues are hungry for the Cup and with luck, they might just win it.
Blues in 6 games.