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Millard's Five Storylines: Game 4

Josh Morrissey a key piece on the Jets blueline

by Daren Millard @darenmillard / WinnipegJets.com

1. Beating the Blues at home hasn't been easy in the Jordan Binnington era. Game 3 was only the netminder's third loss in 17 decisions under the Arch.  As much of an accomplishment as the win was for the Jets, now the goal is to make history. Binnington has yet to lose back to back games in his brief career. Only once has the rookie surrendered more than two goals in those bounce-back outings.

2. The St.Louis Blues responded physically in Game 3. After being out hit a combined  68 to 47 in Winnipeg, the Blues reversed the narrative 29 to 23  at home. The turnaround looks good but may not have been by design.  

"I think for us, we worried about the refs a little bit too much," David Perron told Jim Thomas from the St.Louis Post Dispatch,

"I know we tried to match the physicality, things like that. But I think we've got to, for the most part of the season, we just worried about our team. We just played our game and we had success. I think we should do that."    

Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers make the most noise, but it's Ben Chirot who leads all Jets with fifteen hits. Adam Lowry tops the forwards with nine.  Game 4 is when the investment in the physical game starts to pay off. Not from the perspective of knocking people out of the game, but rather the opposition knowing you will be waiting with more body contact.  

3. Josh Morrissey interestingly has not been credited with a hit in the series. Coupled that with Morrissey's ice time being down four and half minutes from the regular season, and it would be easy to wonder if the defenceman is still recovering from the upper-body injury that knocked him out of the lineup for 19 games at the end of the season. Paul Maurice explained the average of 17:45,

"Go back to the playoffs last year, and you'll notice Trouba and Morrissey's minutes actually come down because we run a slightly harder match. That's all. He's going to match forward minutes, I've used him less on the PK that's going to take some minutes there. He was running the power play, but Dustin was gone for half a season, so we cut minutes. His minutes have come down not on any injury concern or anything like that it's just role definition."

Morrissey has not skated on the penalty kill through the three games but did make a brief appearance on the power play in the Jets' victory.

4. A Game 3 offensive outburst helped the Jets quiet criticism of the clubs 5-on-5 performance. Winnipeg scored five even-strength goals in the victory, compared to only two in the losses at home. It was the second time this season the Jets have kept the scoreboard busy in St.Louis, scoring eight at Enterprise Center in November, seven even strength, five by Patrik Laine.  

5. The opening week playoff MVP is the NHL's playoff format. The setup took a beating when the likes of Toronto and Boston were left destined to play each other with weeks left in the season. Critics kept saying there wasn't a significant enough reward for teams who produce great seasons.  2019 has served notice, and an easier match-up may not exist.  Wild Card teams lead in the of its four series, with the lower seeds up in five matchups.  

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