Jaden Schwartz had a hat trick and rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington made 18 saves as the host St. Louis Blues eliminated the Winnipeg Jets with a 3-2 victory in Game 6 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series Saturday.
The Blues will face the winner of the Dallas-Nashville series in the next round of the playoffs. Dallas took a 3-2 lead in that series with a 5-3 victory Saturday in Nashville.
The Blues became the first home team to win a game in the series, and the first winning team that didn’t need to overcome a deficit.
Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little scored for Winnipeg, and goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 of 36 shots.
Both of the Jets’ goals came in the second half of the third period, after they were down 3-0.
Byfuglien’s goal came as he poked a rebound of a Kevin Hayes shot past Binnington at 12:17 of the third to cut into the three-goal deficit. Little tallied at 19:22, but the Jets were unable to tie the score.
Schwartz opened the scoring just 23 seconds into the first period. After a Winnipeg turnover in its own end, Hellebuyck was able to stop Brayden Schenn’s shot, but the puck trickled behind him. Schwartz, waiting at the far post, was able to sweep it over the goal line.
The Jets challenged the call, claiming Schenn had interfered with Hellebuyck after driving to the net, but the goal was upheld.
Schwartz’s second goal came on the power play at 12:36 of the second. His shot from the top of the left faceoff circle went wide of the net, but Tyler Bozak recovered the puck and sent it right back to Schwartz, whose second try found the back of the net.
At 3:55 of the third, Schwartz scored again, prompting a downpour of hats from the St. Louis crowd. Schwartz skated down the right wing, deked a defender and crossed the ice before taking the puck to the net.
Binnington was hardly tested, as the Jets put just six shots on goal through the first two periods and were outshot 36-20 overall. His best save came on the only shot he faced in the second, a glove stop on a wrist shot from the high slot by Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey midway through the period.
—Field Level Media