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Blues aim to raise level of play against Jets in Game 2

O'Reilly says St. Louis must be 'a lot better' to take 2-0 series lead

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The St. Louis Blues know they have to step up their level of play in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TVAS, SN, FS-MW).

The Blues lead the best-of-7 series after a 2-1, Game 1 win Wednesday after scoring two goals in the third period.

"That game is behind us, we have to find a new way and we're going to need to play a lot better to win this game," Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly said after an optional skate Thursday.


[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Blues series coverage]


O'Reilly said the Blues leaned on their defense and goaltender too much.

"I think when we're not scoring, we're at least defending well or keeping them to the outside," he said. "Still, we have these breakdowns, and whether it's [goalie Jordan Binnington] coming up with a huge save and just sticking with it and not trying to deviate from our game plan, sticking with it is something that we've found and it's been important for us."

St. Louis also hopes to improve its power play, which went 0-for-3 in Game 1.

"Just more directness," coach Craig Berube said of the adjustment that needs to be made. "We didn't shoot. Well, a couple shots (two). We missed the net a couple of times. It wasn't direct enough. It has been over the last month, but I thought we got away from what we had been doing. We can attack more and been more direct with it."

Video: Binnington, Bozak lead Blues by Jets late in Game 1

Berube said he knows the Jets will come out with more desperation in Game 2 in order to avoid trailing the series heading to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4.

"We can be better," he said. "We have to be better because they are going to be better. That's the way you have to look at the next game. They are going to come out harder. They are going to be better. We have to ramp our game up. We have to be better too. Match it."

Winnipeg was more physical than St. Louis in Game 1, outhitting them 36-21. The Blues want to match that intensity to start Game 2.

"They're a team that likes to go on transition and skate," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "If you can get in front of guys and slowing them down, it's not necessarily hits and running out of the way to throw big hits. It's just being good positionally. That's part of being in an intense game. As the series goes along, that's usually how it goes, and it gets more physical and that sort of thing."

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