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5 Keys: Jets at Blues, Game 4

Laine, Byfuglien need to make difference for Winnipeg; Binnington must bounce back for St. Louis

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

JETS at BLUES

9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TVAS, SN, FS-MW

St. Louis leads best-of-7 series 2-1

 

[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Blues series coverage]

 

The Winnipeg Jets can even the Western Conference First Round against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Tuesday.

The Jets defeated the Blues 6-3 in Game 3 after losing the first two games.

The road team has won each of the first three games of the series.

Here are 5 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Stepping up in goal

It's been a challenging series for the goalies.

Blues starter Jordan Binnington, a Calder Trophy contender for NHL rookie of the year, allowed a season-high six goals in Game 3 . He's 2-1 in the series with a 3.36 goals-against average and .880 save percentage after going 24-5-1 with an NHL-best 1.89 GAA in the regular season.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck has allowed seven goals in his past two games and is 1-2 with a 3.06 GAA and .897 save percentage.

If one of these goalies finds his best game before the other, it could be a series-altering shift.

 

2. Laine must stay hot

Jets forward Patrik Laine has found his touch in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after scoring one goal in the final 19 games of the regular season to complete a 30-goal season.

Laine has four points (three goals, assist) and scored a goal in each game. He needs to stay hot to help the Jets even this series.

Including the regular season, Laine has 16 goals in 15 games in his NHL career against the Blues. That includes his five-goal game at St. Louis on Nov. 24, 2018.

Video: WPG@STL, Gm3: Trouba, Laine connect to put Jets ahead

 

3. Home-ice disadvantage

If the Blues buck a certain trend in Game 4, they will take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Neither team has won on home ice yet. The Jets lost the first two games, 2-1 in Game 1 and 4-3 in Game 2, at Bell MTS Place. The Blues dropped Game 3 at Enterprise Center.

It is the only series in the first round where the home team has not won at least once.

Home teams are 13-11 so far in the postseason.

 

4. Time for a change

The Blues will have forward Robby Fabbri in the lineup for Game 4 in place of Zach Sanford.

Fabbri brings skill, though he had a limited role this season. He had six points (two goals, four assists) in 32 regular-season games while averaging 12:39 of ice time. The 23-year-old was a healthy scratch 30 times and missed 10 games from Oct. 4-27 with a lower-body injury. He also missed 10 games from Dec. 5-27 with an upper-body injury. 

During the 2016 playoffs with the Blues, Fabbri had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 20 games 

Sanford averaged 7:14 ice time in the first three games against the Jets and was minus-1.

 

5. Byfuglien impact

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been an impact player with his offense and physical play.

He leads all skaters in scoring with five points (one goal, four assists) and in ice time, averaging 25:40. Byfuglien had a goal and an assist in Winnipeg's Game 3 victory.

"When he's playing like that, our team looks a lot better," Jets defenseman Tyler Myers said.

 

Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Bryan Little -- Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp -- Adam Lowry -- Brandon Tanev

Mathieu Perreault -- Kevin Hayes -- Jack Roslovic

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck 

Laurent Brossoit 

Scratched: Par Lindholm, Matt Hendricks, Nathan Beaulieu, Joe Morrow, Bogdan Kiselevich, Sami Niku, Eric Comrie

Injured: None

 

Blues projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz -- Oskar Sundqvist -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Robby Fabbri -- Ivan Barbashev -- Alexander Steen

Vince Dunn -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Joel Edmundson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Carl Gunnarsson, Michael Del Zotto, Sammy Blais, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Jared Coreau

Injured: None

 

Status report

Laine did not take part in the morning skate for a second straight game but is expected to play. ... Perron did not participate in the morning skate, but Blues coach Craig Berube said it was for maintenance purposes and he should play.

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