After a uneven regular season of 82 matches, which fell 15 points and two more losses from the home-ice playoff, Winnipeg Jets went to St. Louis and again revealed the important form they brought in three victories from the Stanley Cup final spring.
The calm touch of Kyle Connor from Shakespeare's transfer center at 6:02 of the overtime season gave Jets a 2-1 win against St. Louis Blues and a 2-2 tie in their first round series that seemed unbelievable after Jets lost the first two matches in Winnipeg.
But they seemed like a team transformed into St. Louis, handling blues 6-3 on Sunday to climb back into the series, and then following the powerful performance on Tuesday, even the debutant miracle worker Jordan Bingington was unable to destroy his place in St. Louis is not.
Binnington, the 25-year-old who went 24-5-1 to use his chance for the national hockey league after the blues promoted him from juveniles in January, was super Tuesday. And it was still not enough for St. Louis.
He made 37 beats, but after the last of them, Sheiffel collected his return to Binnington's right, briefly froze the net and then lowered Connor's pocket for his third goal in three games. Connor scored only three times in the playoffs for the playoffs of 17 matches a year ago, when Winnipeg was one of the Cup's favorites.
Nobody took them this year.
Although Jets ended up in front of the blues of the tie-breaker, St. Louis was the best team in the NHL in the second half of the season. Jets ended the season 2-4-1. They looked like two teams that rushed in opposite directions.
But the best skaters in the last two games were almost all Jets: the Sheffield-Connor-Blake Wheeler line, defender Dustin Biffulen, wing Patrick Laine.
No one will know until Game 5 on Thursday if Jets really returns, or whether the last two matches were just another fleeting summit in the peaks and valley season. But it's been a while since Winnipeg looked at this well.
"Now we are fired," said Jets captain, Blake Wheeler. "We obviously have come here in a hole and work to do a mission and we are doing well. It's a helluva series."
Yes it is.
Apparently surprised by their performance on Sunday, the blues surprised Jets 8-0 in the first 10 minutes Tuesday. But the goal of Winnipeg, Conor Haleybuck, was sharp, his teammates settled with the help of a powerful game and Jets gradually took over the game from there.
The chances were 39-24 for Winnipeg in the last 56 minutes.
And yet, Benington had a blues 12 1/2 minutes from a 3-1 lead in front of Shifhe to make Lady-o-Go with Connor to connect with game 4 1-1 at 7:33 from the third period.
Shaefel arrived boldly to redirect the return to the top corner as he crashed into Benington. The Jets center, which had seven strokes and 11 attempts, ended in ice with a stick at Benington.
He rejected it. If only Jets could do the same with Binnington, the Kalder Trophy candidate followed the boundary order of Winnipeg, making one consecutive preservation of the close range against Brandon Tanev, Nikolai Ehlers, Connor and Lane, while the blues was exaggerated. He also somehow saved a double deviation that last touched Wheeler.
"Hecha plays for these two guys," Wheeler said of the finish of Sheffield by Connor for the goal. "When it gets so suppressed, it's very difficult to stop. It's Mark Sheffield, a man."
Helebook was perfect as Binnington while Vladimir Tarasenko did not make 35 seconds in the third period of play in St. Louis. With Mathieu Perreault in the punitive box for a high cross check – Jet doubled by taking another inattentive penalty late at the time of regulation – Tarasenko lashed a stroke from the left meek past past the Hellebuyck's glove.
The goal jeopardized the planes, but did not deter them.
"Consistence comes from belief in what you see," said Winnipeg coach Paul Morris. "It's hard for me to sell to tell you that after Games 1 and 2, but we wanted big parts of our games there. And the players know that. So, even when you're down, and you're facing a goalkeeper who there is a real special night, it really is not an option for you, as you go ahead. You will not change anything because you like the way you play. "This was our best game."
Binnington did not lose consecutive NHL matches by Tuesday. The two losses are equal to the second longest bubble loss since December.
"We knew it would be a tough series, right?" Said defense counsel, Alex Pythrangello. "We took two into their building. So, put it all together and hopefully steal one more.
"The series is tied for a reason, both teams have played well. You do not see the road team very often stealing two in each building, but it makes us feel good to go to the next."
We assume that the planes feel even better.