WINNIPEG - Another tight playoff tilt between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues came down to one shot.
Unfortunately for the Jets - and the 15,000-plus inside Bell MTS Place - that shot came off the stick of Ryan O'Reilly.
O'Reilly's first of the postseason, 3:46 into the third period, proved to be the difference as the Blues beat the Jets 4-3 in Game 2.
"For the most part we've played two pretty solid games. It comes down to a couple breaks," said Adam Lowry. "I feel like we're right there. I don't think we're frustrated. I don't think you can let that creep into this room. We have a lot of belief in the team we have here. We know it's a tough hole to come out of, but some pretty good teams have come out of here before."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine scored for the Jets, who now trail the series 2-0 heading back to St. Louis.
"We'll go to St. Louis and take care of business," said Wheeler who, along with Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien, recorded two points in the loss.
"You have to win four games to win a series. I've never met a team that won two to win a series. We're alright."
The back-and-forth affair, which saw four lead changes, needed just over five minutes to see its first goal.
When an early Jets power play was cut to 4-on-4, the Blues took advantage of the extra space. Oskar Sundqvist kept on a 2-on-1 rush up the ice, beating Connor Hellebuyck on the stick side with a wrist shot from the right-wing side 5:23 into the opening period.
Following two big penalty kills (including 17 seconds of a 5-on-3), the Jets got a big shot block and came back down the ice toward the St. Louis net. Andrew Copp and Scheifele - fresh from the box - won a puck battle below the goal line to maintain possession. Scheifele found Wheeler in front and he lifted his first of the postseason past Jordan Binnington to level the score with 7:59 to go in the first.
"We got some real good life on a great penalty kill," said Maurice, after the Jets killed off all six shorthanded situations they had while going 2-for-3 on the power play.
"There is confidence there in both. We just have to get the minutes right for one. We were on it for a minute and a half, which is a good thing when you're finishing early. We got about six and a half killed. It does disrupt your bench, especially that run (of penalties) that we had for sure."
Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck
A Robert Bortuzzo interference penalty put the Jets on their second power play of the night early in the second period - and for the first time in the series, it connected.
Wheeler sent a cross-ice feed from the right circle to Laine waiting in the left. His one-timer beat a sprawling Binnington, putting the Jets up 2-1.
The Jets kept buzzing, but the Blues would be the next ones to light the lamp. Hellebuyck made two big pad saves on Pat Maroon in tight, but the puck squeezed through him and just over the line before he could grab it with his blocker hand. It was a tie game with 13:18 to go in the second.
"They scored to make it 2-2 and then they ran eight (minutes straight)," Maurice said of the shift in momentum.
"It's so clearly defined, you'd have to say there it was. We were dominant early and then they were and we couldn't right it."
Sundqvist's second of the night - a shot that beat Hellebuyck five-hole off a 3-on-2 rush - put the Blues ahead for the second time of the night.
Undeterred, the Jets kept at it. Then, when Robert Thomas was called for hooking Adam Lowry, the Jets power play made the Blues pay.
Kyle Connor sent a pass from the right corner to Scheifele just inside the top of the right circle. He turned a wired a wrist shot past Binnington's blocker side, tying the game at three through 40 minutes.
But shortly into the third, O'Reilly's shot from the right wing snuck by Hellebuyck, proving to be the game-winner.
Hellebuyck, who finished with 28 saves, hasn't lost faith in his team though.
"They haven't won," said Hellebuyck. "We have a lot of heart in here and we're going to fight, every inch and every battle."
Game 3 is set for Sunday night in St. Louis.
"We're going to look at the video and we're going to see where we can tighten up," said Lowry. "We're going to go into Game 3 with the same game plan for the most part. We've done a good job of coming out and playing well for large stretches of time. Then there's a bit of a block where they start to control the play.
"If we can cut down on that stuff moving forward, I think we'll be okay."