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Blues expecting more desperation from Jets in Game 3

St. Louis hopes to feed off energy of home fans after winning twice in Winnipeg

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will not take their series lead against the Winnipeg Jets for granted as they prepare for Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Enterprise Center on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, SN, TVAS2, FS-MW).

The Blues, who won Game 1 2-1 on Wednesday and Game 2 4-3 on Friday, have numbers on their side when it comes to winning the series. Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series own a series record of 318-50 (86.4 percent). Of the 92 teams that won Games 1 and 2 on the road, 72 went on to win the series (78.3 percent).

"They've beaten us in our building before, so we're expecting the same type of energy game in St. Louis," Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson said. "We expect an even harder game. They're not going to back off just because they're down 2-0. They're going to play as hard as they can. We're expecting a long series. Hopefully not, but we're going to do everything we can to get Game 3 under our belts."

 

[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Blues series coverage

 

Jordan Binnington became the second rookie goalie in Blues history to win his first two playoff starts, joining Curtis Joseph, who won the first three games of a 1990 Smythe Division Semifinal against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Binnington is the first to win his first two starts on the road.

He's expecting the Jets, who won three of four regular-season games against the Blues and went 2-0-0 at Enterprise Center, to be desperate.

"Absolutely. It's going to be a fight right until the end," said Binnington, who has allowed four goals on 54 shots in the first two games. "We know that. We're going to prepare the same way and treat every game the same way. We're looking forward to it."

Video: STL@PIT: Bouwmeester, Maroon team up for slick goal

The Blues could have been content to get a split in the hostile environment of Bell MTS Place; instead, they're expecting even more from their fans after winning two games in Winnipeg.

"I think it's going to be great," St. Louis rookie forward Robert Thomas said. "Our fans, probably the last 10 home games, have been awesome for us. I'm sure it'll be ramped up a lot and I'm really excited."

Video: STL@NJD: Thomas pots backhand for opening tally

The Blues have won the first two games of a series on the road three times (2017 Western Conference First Round at the Minnesota Wild, 2001 Western Conference Semifinal at the Dallas Stars, 1993 Norris Division Semifinal at the Chicago Blackhawks). They won all three series, including sweeps against the Stars and Blackhawks.

But St. Louis went up 2-0 by winning the first two games at home against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals and against the Blackhawks in the 2014 Western Conference First Round, then lost each series in six games. Forwards Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko are among the Blues who played on that 2014 team, as are defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester.

The Blues won their final seven home games this season and 14 of the last 16. They're hoping to do what the Jets couldn't: Feed off the energy of the home crowd.

"I think it's going to be louder than this," Edmundson said. "I'm expecting an unreal crowd. They've been supporting us all year, so I know they're really looking forward to Games 3 and 4."

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