The Blues managed to pull out a 2-1 thriller after being down 1-0 going into the third period. The Jets took an early lead in the first period off a laser shot by Patrick Laine, who continues to torch the Blues. Even being down only 1-0, it was clear that the Jets had the upper hand – they were seemingly knocking the Blues off the puck every time they touched it, or the Blues fell victim to their own nerves. Robert Thomas, especially was quite jittery, bumbling several passes and falling down without any contact.
All that changed in the third period. The Blues started funneling more pucks to the net and creating traffic. David Perron tied the game at 1, and later in the third, Tyler Bozak buried a Pat Maroon feed to take a 2-1 lead – a lead the Blues would not relinquish.
In the end, the game turned out to look pretty even, with face-off percentage, shots, blocks and power play (in)efficiency largely equal between the two teams. The Blues, however, clearly looked like the better team in the third period – so much so that if that style of play and dominance continues, this will be a very short series.
I suspect it will not, but given that the Jets were imposing their style of play the whole game and the Blues seemed content to simply ‘feel out’ the Jets to better plan for subsequent games, this was an ugly loss for Winnipeg.
Look for more Laine in Game 2, with more offensive contributions from the Blues’ top line. Game 2 is Friday at 9:30 Eastern time.