ST. LOUIS, Missouri - As a team, the Winnipeg Jets might be young, but the experience they gained during last year's playoffs could pay dividends tonight in Game 6 against the St. Louis Blues.
Winnipeg trails the best-of-seven series 3-2, but they know they can perform in big games, just as they did in Nashville in 2018 in Game 7.
Back on that night, the Jets were coming off a tough loss, just as they are tonight.
"We got beat 4-0 on an empty net in Game 6. It was that feeling 'we have to go back now.' Postgame it's a terrible place to be in that room," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "The next day, there is tension but you start to build. By the time we got to Game 7, we're going out there and they're smiling and they're excited. We're trying to recreate that now."
Video: PREGAME | Josh Morrissey
Nikolaj Ehlers didn't take the morning skate (neither did Patrik Laine or Dustin Byfuglien) and Maurice wasn't giving any hints toward his line-up for tonight's tilt. Instead, he joked every player is a game-time decision.
A Jets win tonight would not only force a Game 7 back inside Bell MTS Place, it would also mark the first time in NHL history that the road team has won the first six games of a series.
"The road team doesn't have an advantage, they've been tightly played games for me and that's the way they've played out," said Maurice.
"These things are all one-shot games and these teams know it."
In Game 5, that one shot came off the stick of Jayden Schwartz, who scored the game-winner with 15 seconds left in regulation. That, much like the Game 6 loss to Nashville Maurice referenced, was tough to swallow.
But this is the time the Jets need to lean on the mantra they've used all season - 'handle your day.'
They've looked at video from that game, where they allowed three goals in the third period and have put it in the past.
"We parked it after that game. Woke up the next day and had a good day yesterday. Now we're back in a game day routine," said Josh Morrissey. "We've liked a lot of things we've done in this series, even in the games we've lost.
"Your back is against the wall tonight. I think that's when your best comes out. We're excited to face that challenge."
Video: PREGAME | Adam Lowry
The series has been tight all the way through. Every game, with the exception of Winnipeg's 6-3 win in Game 3, has been decided by one-goal. One game went to overtime with Kyle Connor netting the winner.
Connor - who has three goals in this series, tying his total goal output from the 2018 postseason - expects more of the same tonight.
"This group is going to be motivated and we're going to come out ready to go," Connor said of the Jets, who have 10 of their last 12 games inside Enterprise Center.
"We know what it's going to take to win this game. We just have to execute and play at a higher pace than we did last game."
The goaltending match-up will remain the same as it has all series, with Connor Hellebuyck and his 2.58 goals against average and 0.912 save percentage going up against Jordan Binnington (2.75 GAA and 0.908 save percentage).
Video: PREGAME | Kyle Connor
Both goaltenders have been tough to beat in this series. The Jets will do everything they can to make sure that "one shot" difference comes off their stick.
"There is pressure on every game and it changes as you go through the series. There is pressure on St. Louis as well, they don't want to go back to Winnipeg," said Maurice. "An elimination game, there's no tomorrow. In some ways I think sometimes it's a little bit freeing. If you harness it right, you can go out and play with a little extra."
Puck drop is set for 6 pm CT.
--Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com--
The Winnipeg Jets are looking to extend their season today in Game 6 of their best-of-seven First Round Series against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center...The Jets lost 3-2 to the Blues in Game 5 on Thursday and trail the series three-games-to-two...If the Jets win tonight, Game 7 is slated for Monday night back in Winnipeg.
On the Road
The road team has won all five games of this series so far...The Jets went 22-18-1 on the road during the regular season, which set a franchise record for the most road wins in a season...The Jets won both games against the Blues in St. Louis during the regular season as well and are 10-2-0 in their past 12 games in St. Louis, including the playoffs...Blake Wheeler led the Jets in scoring on the road during the regular season with 40 points (10G, 30A) in 41 games.
The Jets have suffered one-goal losses in all three losses of this series and are 1-11 all-time as a franchise in playoff games decided by one-goal...Winnipeg was 1-4 in one-goal games during their playoff run last season...During the regular season, the Jets went 19-7-5 in one-goal games, which was sixth-best in the NHL.
The Jets franchise is 1-3 when facing elimination...Winnipeg's lone win came last season in Nashville in Game 7 of the Second Round Series against the Predators...Tomorrow is the first time the Jets have faced elimination in a Game 6.
Back in the Dance
The Jets are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season...It's the first time in franchise history that the Jets have reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and fourth time overall.
VIEW THE FULL GAME NOTES
New Playoff Foe
This is the sixth playoff series in franchise history and the sixth time the Jets face a different opponent...The then-Atlanta Thrashers played the New York Rangers in 2006...The Jets made the playoffs for the first time after relocation in 2015 and met the Anaheim Ducks in the first round...Last season, Winnipeg played the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights.
The Jets went 13-12-1 against Central Division teams during the regular season, which is their poorest divisional record since going 11-16-2 during the 2015-16 season...Winnipeg has been above .500 against their divisional foes in four of six seasons since moving to the Central Division...Winnipeg finished the season 4-7-1 in their last 12 games against Central Division teams and three of the four wins came against Nashville...Since the start of the 2016- 17 season, the Jets are 47-29-5 against Central Division teams, which is second in the NHL...In that same time frame, Blake Wheeler leads all NHLers in scoring against the Central Division with 98 points (28G, 70A) in 81 games, while Mark Scheifele has 90 points (37G, 53A) in 73 games.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice is coaching in the postseason for the seventh time in his career...Maurice is 36-43 behind the bench in playoff games, with the highlight of his postseason success coming in 2002 when he coached the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup final...The nine playoff wins the Jets posted last season is the second most Maurice has had in a playoff run, next to the 2002 season.
Andrew Copp had an assist in Game 5 for his fourth assist in his past four games...He had three points (1G, 2A) in 16 games during the playoffs last season...During the regular season, Copp averaged .36 points per game, but is averaging .80 points per game in the playoffs.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has a 2.26 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in his past three games...He's allowed three goals or less in four of his five playoff games this season.
Adam Lowry scored 12 seconds into Game 5 to set a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a playoff game...It's also the fastest goal to start a game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs...It was Lowry's second career goal and first since the 2015 playoffs.
All-Time Playoff Appearance: 4th
Consecutive Playoff Appearance: 2
Most Recent Playoff Appearance: 2018 (FR: 4-1 W vs. MIN; SR: 4-3 W vs. NSH; CF: 4-1 L vs. VGK)
All-Time Playoff Record: 11-19 in 30 GP (2-3 in 5 series)
Game 7s: 1-0 (0-0 at home, 1-0 on road)
Overtime: 1-2 (0-1 at home, 1-1 on road)
Facing Elimination: 1-3 (0-2 at home, 1-1 on road)
With Chance to Clinch Series: 2-1 (1-1 at home, 1-0 on road)