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Millard's Takeaways: Game 3

Byfuglien a major factor in the series

by Daren Millard @darenmillard /

1. The busiest faceoff man to qualify for the playoffs has been leaned on by Blues coach Craig Berube. Ryan O'Reilly, who took the third most draws during the regular season, has watched the puck dropped 86 times in the opening three games of the series against the Jets. 

The next closest centreman is the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, and he's more than twenty back while Mark Scheifele checks in at number three. O'Reilly has won a staggering 63 per cent of his offensive zone draws, but it's Winnipeg who has capitalized more on the faceoff game. The Jets have scored four goals directly off of clean wins, three of the tallies occurring early in power play opportunities. In Game 2, the Jets struck 19 and 22 seconds into the man advantage tries before taking just 13 seconds to click on their second chance in Game 3.

2. Hockey loves to talk up how much influence specialty teams have on the outcome. In the case of the Jets and Blues, the game inside the game is producing an unexpected trend.   Winnipeg's penalty killers were a perfect seven-for-seven in the two games at home, while the power play connected twice, yet the Jets lost both. St.Louis dropped game three despite scoring a pair on the man-advantage.

3. Another juxtaposition. Dustin Byfuglien has emerged as not just the Jets' top point producer but one of Winnipeg's best skaters in the three games.  However,  there was Byfuglien in the penalty box as the Jets grabbed control in the early stages of Sunday's second frame. The defenceman spent two minutes serving a roughing minor after pairing off with the Blues' Brayden Schenn. Winnipeg struck in the four-on-four portions before capitalizing on a four-on-three power play.  When Byfuglien exited the box, the Jets had a three to one lead.

4. Best adlib of the series belongs to Connor Hellebuyck. The netminder saw the series flash in front of his mask when the goaltender experienced a moment of miscommunication in the third period Sunday night.  Hellebuyck was on his way back to the crease after stopping a puck behind the net, and the issue was, there wasn't any Jets skaters in the vicinity.  In stepped Patrick Maroon who quickly took the puck to the goal, only to be foiled by Hellebuyck who was diving from the other side of the net.  The Jets were ahead 3-2 at the time.  Seconds later Brandon Tanev scored, and Winnipeg was back up by a pair.

5. Another great adlib goes to Jets head coach Paul Maurice who showed off his quick wit during his post-game media conference (see below at the 15-second mark). Maurice processing a question when a speaker briefly blared a commercial for a local flooring company. The coach didn't flinch, suggesting he turn things over to the hardwood floor guy. Fortunately, the interruption was only temporary, and Maurice was able to continue. The coaches response when a reporter described the aforementioned Hellebuyck save as a puck handling adventure, "That's kind."  Those two words followed a rolling of the eyes which was further confirmation the Jets got away with one.

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

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