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Jets put Game 3 in the past, look ahead to Game 4 against Blues

"We liked our game, we'll leave it there." -Maurice

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

ST. LOUIS, Missouri - Travis Tritt's lyrics filled the Winnipeg Jets dressing room and the surrounding hallways on Monday afternoon, with the line "it's a great day to be alive" seeming particularly appropriate, following the 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3.

But as light as the mood was, the Jets haven't lost track of the fact there is much more work to be done.

Take Patrik Laine for example. The Finnish sniper scored his third goal in as many games in Game 3, but his offensive production is secondary to what the team wants to accomplish as a whole.

"We're down 2-1. That's not the way we wanted to start these playoffs. But for me, it really doesn't matter," said Laine.

"It's fun to score, but it's even more fun to win. Yesterday was a lot of fun to win and hopefully we can win tomorrow."

Video: PRACTICE | Patrik Laine

Laine didn't take part in the team's optional skate at Enterprise Center. Like the majority of his teammates, he opted for an off-ice workout following the team's video session. In that video, Laine and his teammates saw some of the things they've been trying to accomplish in the offensive zone.

"They have good defencemen and play good defence," Laine said of the Blues. "Especially with these guys, they have a heavy defensive corps and not as quick as somebody else's. They play heavy. We just have to get all the pucks in deep. We're going to do our damage behind their D, working down low, turning, taking the puck to the net. That's the way we need to play as a line and for myself as well."

His goal in Game 3 came 7:47 into the second period and gave the Jets a lead they wouldn't give up.

Following the game, Jets head coach Paul Maurice noted how Laine's work earlier in the 4-on-4 shift - getting physical on the forecheck, then finding some open space in front of Jordan Binnington - shows the growth in Laine's game from a year ago.

"He would have been no different than Nik Ehlers, Kyle Connor, and Mark (Scheifele) when he first came into the league, Maurice said. "Learning the NHL game - and not having been exposed to it being a European player - there is a lot to learn. 

"The consistency of just running your routes, just doing your job, 80 per cent of the game nothing happens… Being patient in that game, that's where he's been better."

Video: PRACTICE | Bryan Little

Laine said part of that growth came from playing with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler earlier this season, but ultimately, being better all over the ice was a goal of his coming into the season.

"I have to be the one who is playing out there. They can't play for me," Laine said. "I still have to do my job out there and play as well as I can. I feel like I'm a better player than I was last year. That was my expectation for myself for this season. "

While the goal was scored at 4-on-4, Laine's line with Bryan Little and Nikolaj Ehlers also generated chances at 5-on-5. The first came early in the first, when Ehlers found Little in tight on Binnington, but the Blues goaltender came up with the save.

"You look at that first period and some of the saves (Binnington) made, we definitely could have had a lead after the first," Little said, adding the Jets will have to continue to generate those chances and exercise the same level of patience in Game 4.

"It's one game. From everything we've seen, there's not a lot of cracks in his game. I think it's the same thing, we did a good job of when he did make those saves, we kept positive."

Video: PRACTICE | Nikolaj Ehlers

Now the focus shifts to being even better in Game 4 which goes Tuesday night at Enterprise Center.

The road team has won every game so far in the series. If the Jets want to keep that trend going, they can't sit on Sunday's success.

"We liked our game, we'll leave it there. We've got a day today to reinforce the things we liked on video," said Maurice.

"Nobody is high-giving anybody in the room. It's done."

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