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Binnington shows plenty of poise in Game 1

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Winnipeg did everything they could to rattle Jordan Binnington before his first career game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They talked all week about making him nervous in the Jets' locker room. "Their goalie doesn't have that much experience about the NHL, and definitely not about the playoffs," Jets forward Patrik Laine told reporters. "So it's just try to shoot every puck and try to make him nervous."

Just 34 seconds into the game, Jets forward Mark Scheifele knocked him down hard behind the net, which resulted in a goaltender interferencce penalty.

Any time Binnington touched the puck, boos from nearly 16,000 rowdy fans in the stands at Bell MTS Centre came raining down in full force.

And the Jets generated some great scoring chances, too - including a dazzling one from Scheifele with 12 seconds left that Binnington turned away to protect a one-goal lead.

Through it all, the Blues' rookie remained unfazed in Game 1.

Video: STL@WPG, Gm1: Binnington preserves lead with pad stop

"Unreal," Tyler Bozak said of Binnington's performance after the game. "He's been a rock for us back there. He gives us a chance to win every night… He's been doing that down the stretch. It's awesome to have a guy like that back there, it gives us a lot of confidence."

"I thought 'Binny' played outstanding," added Pat Maroon. "A big save on Scheifele at the end of the game, he looked calm there."

One of the biggest questions facing the Blues entering their first-round series with Winnipeg was whether Binnington would hold up under the pressure. Yes, he had an incredible regular-season, posting a 24-5-1 record, a 1.89 goals-against average and a .927 save-percentage, but would he be able to sustain that in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Well... maybe there's your answer.

"He did a great job… He played a hell of a game," Blues Head Coach Craig Berube said after Game 1.

"(My) mindset was just compete to the end and give the team a chance to win. That buzzer couldn't have come sooner," Binnington said. "We were just battling all throughout and it was a grind right to the end. It was a good win... We're a good team, we're here for a reason. It was only a matter of time before we got going. We were relentless."

With the win, Binnington became just the third rookie goaltender in Blues history to record a victory in his first playoff game, joining Curtis Joseph (1990) and Ed Staniowski (1976).

Video: STL@WPG, Gm1: Binnington robs Lindholm with glove

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