St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons Playoff Game 1 Vs. Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, MB - APRIL 10: Jaden Schwartz #17 of the St. Louis Blues plays the puck down the ice as Andrew Copp #9 of the Winnipeg Jets defends during first period action in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on April 10, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - APRIL 10: Jaden Schwartz #17 of the St. Louis Blues plays the puck down the ice as Andrew Copp #9 of the Winnipeg Jets defends during first period action in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on April 10, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues began their quest for their first Stanley Cup title up in Winnipeg. Things were about as tough as we all suspected they might be.

The St. Louis Blues knew things were not going to be easy when they found out they were going to play the Winnipeg Jets. The playoffs almost always have tough opponents, but playing the team that led the Central Division for most of the year brought its own challenges.

Things were tight right from the start. About the only advantage the Blues had was in shots and that only lasted for about half the game.

Despite leading the shot totals for much of the first and second period, it was the Jets who had the better of the chances. They forced several good saves, including a two-on-one shorthanded break.

The Blues got quality goaltending, which they will need in every single game if they hope to take this series. Unfortunately, the defense had a miscue here or there and one of them cost.

Almost immediately after failing to score on a golden chance on one end, the Blues allowed the Jets to get their transition game going. The Blues seemed to scramble and lose track of enough people to be on their heels.

Patrick Laine, who has become a Blues killer, sniped the first goal of the game in the first period and it held up for a long time. The Blues had a chance here or there, but for much of the game they were kept to the outside and did not generate enough sustained pressure.

That was until the third period.  Whether Craig Berube said something or it was a plan or just how things happened, the Blues finally came to life in the third period.

St. Louis outshot Winnipeg 10-7 and outscored them too, which seemed unlikely for so much of the game.

The Blues had to hang on by the skin of their teeth, but a win is a win in the playoffs and you gladly take it.

Pros: Jordan Binnington

Jordan Binnington was never under siege in this game, but he had to see some quality. The Jets had the best chances by far for much of this game.

Even when the Blues were outshooting the Jets, you never really felt they were getting the better of the offensive game. It was the Jets making the most of what they had.

For a long time, the Jets had single-digit shots on the Blues. Despite that, they were all tough shots.

The Jets had a two-on-one while shorthanded and a good pass hit an open man in the slot. Binnington managed to wait just long enough that when he went down there was not much room and he made a great glove save.

The rookie was solid with his glove the entire way. The goal that the Jets scored to open things was not one he had much of a chance on.

At best, you might say his positioning could have been different, but there was a screen in front so Binnington was guessing anyway. It was a solid goal by a solid goal scorer.

After that, he kept the Blues in the game. He did not have to make tons of highlight reel saves by standing on his head, but he made several good ones and that allowed the Blues to stay in the game.

That was the most important thing. The Blues took a long time to really get their legs under them. If Binnington does not provide a steady backstop, the game could have gotten away.

Then, once the Blues managed to take the lead, Binnington shut the door. He flashed out the right pad for a fantastic save with under 30 seconds that might have won the game.

Binnington was great when he needed to be and good the rest of the way.

Cons: Blues Power Play

I try not to be too down on the team’s power play, I really do. They simply give you no reason, or very little reason, to have any faith in them though.

The Blues went 0 for 3 on the power play. Beyond that, they just looked inept while on them.

The Blues had one shot on their first power play. That one shot was nothing that looked remotely like it was going to score.

After that, there was a mix of pressure and more ineptitude. The Blues just could not get anything going at all.

I hate to keep going back to it, but we saw this back in the playoff series against Nashville a few years ago. The Blues were given chance after chance on the power play and could not do anything.

It was an echo of the same in Game 1 against Winnipeg. They just never really threatened.

If a team gives you three power plays, especially with two coming in quick order, you have to make them pay. It would be one thing if the Blues threatened, but could not find a crack.

That was not the case. They just pass and pass and pass or fail to enter the zone or, if they do get a shot, it’s from some bad angle.

One of the worst problems this team has, and they’ve had it throughout the season, is when they finally shoot, it ends up going wide and ricocheting out of the zone. You can’t give the other team help by allowing your own shots to rebound over the blue line.

The Blues have to find a way to get power play goals. It might not have cost you this time, but you cannot continually go 0 for whatever and expect to have success.

Pros: Third Period Pressure

Leave it to the Blues to only play one period of good hockey. Thank goodness it was a great period and they were good enough in the rest of the game that it did not matter.

While the Jets dominated the chances for two periods, the Blues kept them at bay enough. Then, their offense finally woke up in the third period.

Hope was dwindling away when they finally put one in the back of the net with a David Perron goal. It was the kind of goal the Blues needed, with a smart shot after a faceoff win and a man in front to screen the goaltender.

The Blues were not happy enough to play for overtime though. They kept their foot on the gas once they smelled blood in the water to mix two phrases that have nothing to do with one another.

St. Louis was peppering the Winnipeg net. You felt it was just a matter of time before they would strike again. Momentum might not always carry, but even if the Blues did not score in regulation, they were giving everyone reason to believe they could take it in overtime.

However, the Blues found a way to keep it from going to overtime. With just over two minutes left in the game, the Pat Maroon found Tyler Bozak in front.

Oddly enough, the goal was probably Bozak’s most pedestrian chance. Nevertheless, it went in and the Blues got the goal they really needed to take their first lead of the series.


The St. Louis Blues really needed to steal a game in Winnipeg to give them their best shot at winning this series. Might as well get that part over with right off the hop.

The Blues never seemed overmatched, but this was not their best effort for 60 minutes. We saw flashes of the best Blues here or there, but they allowed Winnipeg to have too much of their own game at the start.

St. Louis did what they needed to do for much of this game. They did not generate enough quality chances early, but they got pucks to the net. The main detraction there is there would be long stretches without shots.

Defensively, the Blues left gaps and gave some pucks away unnecessarily, which led to some breakouts by the Jets. For the most part, they held Winnipeg in check though. When they did not, Binnington was there to make the saves.

It would have been nice to get a little more from the top line, but they had their chances in the third.

Ultimately, you can view this game in a couple ways. You can say they were lucky to escape with a win, which they were. The Blues invited far too much pressure on themselves in the final minutes.

You can say they won despite not being at their absolute best, which is also true. If there is more in the tank and you still get a win, you have more great games to look forward to.

Of course, the worry is that momentum is stolen if you lose Game 2. It’s great to steal a game, but if you go home off a loss, sometimes the narrative changes.

I argue this was the more important game to take. You set the tone and give yourself room to breathe.

The Blues cannot go into Game 2 thinking they’ve done anything. You have to reset and treat it as though it’s the final game and not think you have done what you set out to do.

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For this one game, it is hard not to feel good about a win though. The Blues got the job done on the first night and now that the nerves are over, the fun really begins.