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GAME DAY: Jets vs Blues (Game 2)

8:30 pm CT - TV: SN; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - Brandon Tanev says he feels good enough to return to the Winnipeg Jets line-up tonight for Game 2 against the St. Louis Blues, but whether he's on the ice for the 8:30 pm CT puck drop tonight is still up in the air.

"I've decided on the line-up, but I have to wait on a couple things first," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

"He's a durable, tough young man."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

Tanev missed the last two games of the regular season and Game 1 of the best-of-seven series against the Blues with an upper-body injury he sustained against the Minnesota Wild on Apr. 2.

Should he return to the line-up, the Jets will get their franchise leader in hits back in the fold (the 278 he had in 2018-19 were 55 more than the next closest player on the roster). His 81 blocked shots were also the most among forwards on the team.

"It's the most exciting time of the year," said Tanev. "You go out there and if you feel good, you wait for the time to come.

"You want to be a part of things."

While Maurice wouldn't confirm if Tanev was in the line-up, he did acknowledge that he helps one of Winnipeg's four lines play to a certain style. The combination of those four different looks up front not only gives Maurice options, but makes the Jets as a whole tough to play against.

"Each line is different here. It's true of their team tonight. There is a structure and a certain understanding of what that line's job is and where you think it can be good," said Maurice. "Sure you get more regulars in the line-up, your structure gets back to a certain style of running your bench - when players go out, who they play against - it's definitely helpful."

Video: PREGAME | Brandon Tanev

The Jets also didn't do any line rushes during this morning's pregame skate, but regardless of whether Tanev is in the line-up or not, the Jets are focused on evening up the series following a 2-1 St. Louis win on Wednesday.

"One team has to lose the first one. Obviously we didn't want it to be us but that's the way the game goes," said Mark Scheifele. "There is another one tonight, we get to focus on this one, we get to get excited for this one. It's going to be a fun one to be a part of."

Scheifele had one of the 17 scoring chances the Jets were credited with in Game 1. But Blues rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington came up with the stop to preserve his squad's 2-1 victory.

In total, Binnington made 24 saves in the game, but the Jets feel they can do better in terms of generating chances.

Video: PREGAME | Mark Scheifele

"We liked what we did but it wasn't enough. So we have to keep doing that and do it more," said Nikolaj Ehlers, who had a team-leading four shots in Game 1. 

"I don't think any goalie in this league likes when there are two or three players in front of him. So we have to get some traffic and get some good shots to the net. We had some pretty good chances last game and we have to bury those as well. We're going to start doing that tonight."

Speaking of "start," the Jets were happy with how they played 40 minutes of Game 1.

They owned a 29-27 edge in five-on-five shot attempt differential and a 1-0 lead before the Blues scored twice in the third period.

Those final 20 minutes, St. Louis turned the tables on Winnipeg, owning a 20-12 shot attempt differential.

Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

But while Ehlers acknowledged the team wants to be better in the final period, there is a lot more to take care of before that period arrives.

"We have to play two periods before the third. We have to play all three the right way," said Ehlers. "I think we started out really well and we know it's going to be a quick start again tonight. Keep playing our game. Put together a good full 60 (minutes). Then I'm sure we'll have a pretty good chance."

Connor Hellebuyck gets the start for the Jets while Binnington gets the nod for the Blues.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

GAME NOTES

Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets look to even their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series tonight against the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 at Bell MTS Place...The Jets lost Game 1 of the series 2-1 on Wednesday, marking the first time in four playoff series that the Jets have lost the first game...After tomorrow, the series shifts to Enterprise Center in St. Louis for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday.

After 2

The Jets led after the second period in Game 1, but fell to 9-4 all-time in the playoffs when leading after 40 minutes...The Jets were 9-0 last season in the playoffs when holding a lead after the second period and 42-1-1 in the regular season...The Jets were 26-5-4 during the regular season this season when leading after the second period, which was tied with the Florida Panthers for the most losses in the NHL.

Second Act

The Jets franchise is 1-4 all-time in Game 2s...The Jets beat the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of their first round series last season, but dropped Game 2 against the Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights.

Singles

The Jets have been limited to one goal in each of their past three playoff home games dating back to last season...The last time the Jets scored multiple goals in a playoff game at home was Game 1 of the Western Conference Final last season when they beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2...The Jets averaged 2.9 goals per game in home games during last season's playoffs and 3.29 goals during the regular season this season.

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.

Return of the Whiteout

Tens of thousands of white-clad Jets fans are expected to cheer on the Jets inside Bell MTS Place and outside the adjacent street party tomorrow...The Jets had one of the best home records in the NHL during the regular season at 25-12-4...Last season in the playoffs, the Jets went 5-3 on home ice, including winning their first four home games.

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.

Central Rivals

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.

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Fearless Leader

Jets head coach Paul Maurice is coaching in the postseason for the seventh time in his career...Maurice is 34-41 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.

Three or less

Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has allowed three goals or less in 10 consecutive playoff starts dating back to last season...Despite a 3-7-0 record, Hellebuyck has a 2.34 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in those 10 games, during which the Jets have been outscored 23-25.

OT Magic

Dustin Byfuglien is the only player on the Jets roster to score an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and happened nearly a decade ago...Byfuglien did it during his time with the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks...The Jets franchise has never won a playoff game in overtime, going 0-2 thus far.

Playoff History

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: 9-17 in 26 GP (2-3 in 5 series)

Playoff Records

Game 7s: 1-0 (0-0 at home, 1-0 on road)

Overtime: 0-2 (0-1 at home, 0-1 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)

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