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5 Keys: Jets at Blues, Game 6

St. Louis goes for clincher; Winnipeg tries to avoid elimination

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer



Blues lead best-of-7 series 3-2

The St. Louis Blues can advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by defeating the Winnipeg Jets in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at Enterprise Center on Saturday.

The road team has won each game of the series. If the Jets win, this would be the first best-of-7 series in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to have the road team win each of the first six games.


[RELATED: Complete Jets vs. Blues series coverage]


Teams winning Game 5 in a best-of-7 series that was tied 2-2 are 205-55 (.788).

Here are 5 keys for Game 6:


1. Third periods the difference

Each team has led at some point in each of the first five games. Only once has a team taken a lead into the third period and won, when the Jets led 3-1 entering the third period of Game 3 and won 6-3.

In Game 5, the Blues scored three goals in the third period to win 3-2. Jaden Schwartz scored the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left.

"It's tough to say why," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said of the third-period lead changes. "It just shows [that] if you can be super aggressive, things seem to go your way. But every series is different. So many things have gone on in the playoffs that you don't expect."


2. Impact of special teams

Special teams are especially important in a tight series, and that proved to be true in Game 5 for the Blues.

St. Louis went 1-for-1 on the power play and is 4-for-8 in its past three games. Game 5 was the first game in the series when the team that won the power-play battle won the game. The Blues are 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) in the series.

The Jets were 0-for-3 in Game 5, don't have a power-play goal in the past two games, and are 3-for-13 (23.1 percent).


3. In-game adjustments

Tweaks and adjustments during the game can be the small edge that leads to victory.

The Blues made such an adjustment in Game 5 when they moved Brayden Schenn to center between Oskar Sundqvist and Schwartz in the second period. Schenn scored the tying goal and Schwartz got the game-winner. It was the first goal of the series for each.

David Perron moved to the top line with O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. Perron assisted on O'Reilly's power-play goal early in the third period that made it 2-1.


4. Binnington remaining calm

Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington had a rough start in Game 5, allowing two goals in the first 13:35. But he was flawless after that, making 20 saves and giving St. Louis a chance to rally. That included third-period saves on Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine.

If Binnington (3-2, 2.75 goals-against average, .908 save percentage) can maintain that kind of calm sharpness in Game 6, the Blues will have a good chance to advance.


5. Jets checking line needs to maintain pressure

The Jets need another good performance from the line of center Adam Lowry between left wing Andrew Copp and right wing Brandon Tanev.

That line has spent a lot of time matched against O'Reilly's line, which has scored one even-strength goal in the series (Tarasenko has two power-play goals, O'Reilly has one). It has created offensive-zone time and momentum for the Jets with a strong forecheck, creating pressure and cycling sequences. Lowry's goal in the first period of Game 5 was his first point of the series, Copp has four assists in five games, and Tanev has a goal and an assist in four games.

Lowry is even in the series, Tanev is plus-1 and Copp is plus-3.


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

Injured: None


Blues projected lineup

David Perron -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Oskar Sundqvist

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Robby Fabbri -- Ivan Barbashev -- Alexander Steen

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Joel Edmundson

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

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

Injured: None


Status report

Ehlers did not take part in the morning skate after blocking a shot in the third period of Game 5 and is a game-time decision. If he can't play, Lindholm is expected to take his place. ... Laine and Byfuglien also did not skate but are expected to play. ... Bortuzzo did not participate in an optional skate and isn't likely to play. He was replaced by Gunnarsson in Game 5. ... Sundqvist skated and is expected to play. He was injured in Game 5 after being shoved into the net by Byfuglien and did not return following Schenn's tying goal in the third period. correspondent Louie Korac contributed to this report

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