WINNIPEG - For the fifth time in the series between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues, the team that won the game trailed at some point during the course of regulation.
Unfortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, they were the victims of the comeback in Game 5.
Adam Lowry and Kevin Hayes gave the Jets a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes, but three third period goals from the visiting Blues - including the game-winner with 15 seconds left in regulation - gave St. Louis a 3-2 win, and a 3-2 series lead.
"It's 2-0 at home going into the third. Playoffs are a funny thing. You lose momentum and it can swing in a heartbeat," said Blake Wheeler. "It's all about how we manage the next 24 to 48 hours. We're a confident group, we know we can win a game."
Video: STL@WPG, Gm5: Lowry bangs home rebound 12 seconds in
Jaden Schwartz completed the Blues comeback when he tipped a Tyler Bozak saucer pass out of mid-air right in front of Connor Hellebuyck - who finished with 26 saves on the night.
It was a tough end to the night, as the Jets had the puck pressed along the end boards with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.
"We can move it," said Maurice. "But when you're not sure where you want to put the puck, the next best thing is to hang onto it and we came out with it. It's on our stick when the scrum is over."
With the energy in the building still roaring strong from the anthems, the Jets kept the fans on their feet scoring the opening goal 12 seconds into the contest. Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev got in on the forecheck, with Tanev sending a shot toward the feet of Jordan Binnington from the right corner. The puck popped out in the slot and Lowry rifled it just inside the left post for his first of the postseason.
Then shortly after a big save from Connor Hellebuyck on an Oskar Sundvist breakaway, the Jets increased their lead.
Dustin Byfuglien intercepted a play to the net and flew up the ice, finding Hayes on the right wing. Hayes drove to the front of the net and tucked home his second of the postseason under Binnington.
"We've been down before and I'm sure the guys will come back, regroup tomorrow, watch some film and get ready for Game 6," said Hayes. "We have to stay positive in this room."
Video: STL@WPG, Gm5: Hayes pots goal off strong move to net
Hayes finished the night in a three-way tie for the team lead in shots on goal with five. He had two second period chances to increase Winnipeg's lead. The first, a deft deflection of a Mathieu Perreault shot that was swatted off the goal line.
The second, a breakaway opportunity where Hayes deked to the forehand, ran out of space, and tried to bank the puck in off a sprawling Binnington.
"Everything is dangerous. There are going to be chances that you're shaking your head at," said Maurice, referring to the fact the series hasn't been a high-event one, but chances that do happen are dangerous.
"(Hayes) had a hat trick on his stick. There are going to be a bunch of those," said Maurice. "It's tight. It's going to be one more save at the end."
With 20.5 seconds left in a scoreless second period, Jacob Trouba was called for roughing. The Jets took the penalty kill into the second and nearly got the kill, but Ryan O'Reilly found a loose puck in front of Hellebuyck and put it in the empty cage to cut the Jets lead to 2-1.
Then with 6:08 to go in regulation, the Blues would pull even. Brayden Schenn potted a pass from Sundqvist just before the net came off its moorings. The play would be reviewed, but it held up.
"It was close. Sometimes they call that, sometimes they don't," said Chiarot, who was on the ice for the goal. "They counted it. There's not much you can do now but move on."
Now the Jets prepare for a must-win Game 6 in St. Louis on Saturday. The road team has won every game in this series and the Jets know they'll have to be at their best in order to keep that trend alive.
"We have to win a hockey game," said Wheeler. "We've won almost 100 of them the last two years, so we're confident we can do that."
Nikolaj Ehlers blocked a Colton Parayko shot in the third period and didn't return. Maurice didn't have an update on Ehlers immediately after the game, saying he would likely have an update on Friday.