The St. Louis Blues have had quite a bit going right for them and while much of the team’s success could easily be handed to goaltender Jordan Binnington, one key reason the team won both games in Winnipeg is the play of their top defensive pair, Colton Parayko and Jay Bouwmeester, according to The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford (subscription required).
The pair are being used to stop the Jets’ top line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler and have played more than 25 minutes matched up against that line in 5-on-5 play. Wheeler does have one goal on four shots in that span, but both Scheifele and Connor have each tallied just two shots combined in those situations.
“Fairly well,” Bouwmeester said when asked how the Blues have defended the group. “We had some breakdowns, and they had some chances. There were some odd-man rushes and things like that. They’ve got skilled guys and guys who don’t need a lot of room to get good chances. Bottom line is I think whoever’s going to control the puck and control the play is going to control what they give up.”
- Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports that there will be just one change in the Winnipeg Jets’ lineup for Sunday’s Game 3 in St. Louis against the Blues. The Jets will bring Mathieu Perreault back into the lineup after the veteran missed Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and Par Lindholm will become a healthy scratch. Perreault hadn’t missed a game this season until Friday. “We’re going to need more of that (secondary scoring) if we want to have any kind of chance of coming back in this series,” said Perreault. “Whoever I’m playing with today, our line, the third and fourth line, we’ve got to find a way to make sure we don’t get scored on, and then chip in a goal here and there to try and help the team win.”
- A.J. Haefele of BSN Denver reports that Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is still being evaluated after leaving Saturday night’s game against Calgary in overtime after taking a hit from Sam Bennett. However, the scribe reports that he is a possibility to play. Girard played 22:05 of ice time in Game 2 and would be a huge loss if he wasn’t able to go.
- Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports that recently signed defenseman Cale Makar is expected to be at the team’s morning practice Saturday and could get into the lineup immediately. Dater adds that he gets the impression that Makar will be in the lineup even though head coach Jared Bednar has not made any announcements. The team’s first-rounder in 2017 will have to be protected for the Seattle expansion draft if he even plays one playoff game this season. However, it looks as if the Avalanche are willing to do that.