ST. LOUIS, Missouri - Game 6 between the Winnipeg Jets and the St. Louis Blues was the first of the series not to see a single lead change.
Unfortunately for the Jets, that meant the end of their season.
Jaden Schwartz opened the scoring 23 seconds into the first period and the Blues never looked back, defeating the Jets 3-2 in the game, and winning the series four games to two. Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little scored for the Jets in the loss.
"This is a tough trophy to win. Maybe our best just wasn't good enough today. Their best was pretty darn good," said captain Blake Wheeler. "In situations like that you look for the resolve in your group, you look for how guys fight, and we played until the last whistle. That's the way I see it."
Schwartz finished the game with a hat trick and combined with his game-winner in Game 5, the forward scored four consecutive goals in the series.
Video: WPG@STL, Gm6: Byfuglien slams rebound by Binnington
Despite the three that got past him, Connor Hellebuyck was stellar in goal for the Jets, making 33 saves in the loss. The Jets were outshot 36-20 in the contest.
"They had a couple power plays and that always helps the shot clock," said Hellebuyck. "You could tell they wanted it and you could tell they weren't giving up. They were pushing the pace. That's where we have to tip our caps because they played well."
St. Louis jumped out to an early lead, with Brayden Schenn driving to the Jets net on the right-wing side. His initial chance didn't get across the line, but Jaden Schwartz tapped hom the loose puck 23 seconds into the contest.
The Jets had their looks in the second period. Brandon Tanev had a partial break down the left-wing side but his shot just missed the netting. In addition, Josh Morrissey's wrist shot from the high slot was gloved down by Jordan Binnington.
"No matter what it's disappointing," Morrissey said of the loss. "You work hard all year to put yourself in a position going in the playoffs. It's really tough. We fought back at the end of that game. We tried our best but it's disappointing.
"We didn't have our best in those periods."
Later in the middle frame, Byfuglien was called for a roughing penalty behind the play with 9:21 to go, and after Hellebuyck made a number of big stops on the penalty kill. St. Louis was able to work the puck around to Schwartz again. He didn't miss while Hellebuyck was down and screened, putting the Blues up 2-0.
"He had a hold of my glove and I couldn't move for a solid five or 10 seconds," said Hellebuyck. "I just think it's goaltender interference."
Maurice shuffled the lines in the third period, with only Tanev, Adam Lowry, and Andrew Copp remaining together as a trio.
Video: WPG@STL, Gm6: Little nets SHG late in the 3rd
While it produced a burst of offensive chances in the opening minutes, Schwartz's third of the game on a 2-on-1 put the Blues up three.
Byfuglien would get the Jets on the board with 7:43 left in regulation. He drove to the net and smacked home a rebound that popped out from a Kevin Hayes slap shot from the top of the circle.
Little added his first of the postseason on a 2-on-1 with Mathieu Perreault with 38 seconds left in regulation, but that's as close as the Jets would get.
"I don't think tonight's game was indicative of the way the first five (games) went. It was such an incredibly tight series," said head coach Paul Maurice. "The shots are almost identical, chances the same, zone time the same, the margin for error was very slim in those first five.
"We were wrong in three of them and right in two of them. Tonight's game didn't look like the others.
"We got beat. I didn't think we had that sustainable gas for the whole series… They played as hard as they could tonight and they didn't quit."