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First Round

Jets continue to improve heading into Game 5

Back home having won two straight, even in playoff series with Blues

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets believe any momentum they have in the Western Conference First Round against the St. Louis Blues will come only from Game 5 at Bell MTS Place on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVAS, FS-MW).

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 after Winnipeg's wins in St. Louis in Games 3 and 4. The road team has won each game of the series.

"I don't think you can really take momentum from game to game," Jets forward Adam Lowry said after they tied the series with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 4 on Tuesday. "You have to park it. Every game's so important you can't try to carry one from the other. If you have a tough loss you have to leave it there. And if you have an emotional win you've got to leave it there.

"You can't get by on past merit. It's about doing it every night. We're going to have to continue this style of play to continue to get results."


[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Blues series coverage]

Winnipeg's style included increasing speed and pressure in Game 4. The Blues started fast, outshooting the Jets 8-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Jets improved as the game went on, outshooting the Blues 39-24 after that, including 15-7 in the third period and 5-1 in overtime.

"We've got to get our minds right," said Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who is 2-2 with a goals-against average of 2.48 and a save percentage of .916 in the series. "We haven't won anything yet. That's a good team over there and they played us right to the last minute. We know they're going to come, and we've got to be prepared for that."

Video: Breaking down Kyle Connor's overtime winner in Game 4

Returning to their Winnipeg Whiteout, the Jets hope their improving play can give them the first home win of the series. The Jets were 25-12-4 at home during the regular season.

"Yeah, the Whiteout's awesome," Lowry said. "We're excited. We played pretty well the first two games. We're excited to go back. The series is tied. We know the Bell MTS Centre is going to be rocking. We're excited."

Wheeler, who assisted on each of Winnipeg's goals in Game 4, said he believes there's still a home-ice advantage in play.

"Obviously it hasn't [meant anything] so far in this series but our fans are going to be going," he said. "I want to see them going like I've never seen them before for Game 5. We're excited to be back home."

Even though the Jets lost the first two games on home ice, they said they did not stop believing in themselves.

"Nobody was pressing the panic button within our dressing room," Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "And so we just ... looked at it like a tough road trip-business trip where we needed to come down and try to get a couple wins. And we were able to do that. I think the biggest thing was just sticking to what our game plan was originally and trying to build off it. And now all that doesn't really matter because we're in a best-of-3 series. So, it all resets again."

Lowry said the expected tone for Game 5 will much the same as in the first four games: tight checking in most parts of the ice with regular ebbs and flows that mark each team trying to find an edge.

"There's not a lot of room out there," Lowry said. "Both teams have played exceptionally well. Their goalie (rookie Jordan Binnington, 2-2, 2.94 goals-against average, .902 save percentage) has played terrific, our goalie's played terrific. They've had some goals from a bunch of different guys. We've had some guys chip in. It's a real close battle. I expect a real similar game come Game 5."

Jets coach Paul Maurice is enthused that his top line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler looks to be trending in the right direction.

Connor scored the game-winner at 6:02 of overtime, his third goal in the past two games, and Scheifele tied it 1-1 in the third period with his second goal of the series.

"Mark Scheifele was a special player tonight," Maurice said after Game 4. "It's going to look like this, very possibly, for the next three games. It's going to be really, really tight. The entire team is going to have to play well and you're going to need one guy to put you over the top.

"I think you get to your game in a series, or you don't. And we're getting closer to it. We're going to need to keep building on that day to day. They're not going away. It's best two out of three. Hit the reset button and go back to where you started the series. Hopefully home ice works out for us."

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