Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Winnipeg's Adam Lowry vies for the puck between St. Louis's Ivan Barbashev, left, and Zach Sanford during their playoff game on April 4, 2019.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

It might have been taken as an omen in this city so worried it cannot match last year’s impressive playoff run to the Western Conference final.

The little flag bearer chosen to lead the Winnipeg Jets out for Game 1 of their opening series against the St. Louis Blues stepped out onto the fresh ice, slipped and fell flat on his face.

Whether it had anything to do with the outcome or not, the game eventually went St. Louis’s way as the Blues pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory to begin the series and send Winnipeggers into two days of worry before playing again here Friday night.

Story continues below advertisement

Tyler Bozak scored with just more than two minutes left in regulation when he took a pass behind-the-net pass from Patrick Maroon and fired a quick shot over the shoulder of Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

Patrik Laine, the 20-year-old Finnish sensation who had an “off” year with only 30 goals, had opened the scoring for Winnipeg at the 13:28 mark of the first period when he took a perfect pass in the slot from Bryan Little and snapped a hard wrist shot past the outstretched glove of St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.

St. Louis head coach Craig Berube had to flinch on that one. After taking over the coaching reins from fired Mike Yeo in the fall, Berube’s first meeting with the then-surging Jets saw Laine score five times in an 8-4 rout of the Blues.

Berube, whose own team surged in the final weeks of the season to reach the playoffs, wanted his team to be ready for the noise and excitement of the loudest rink in hockey. “They start fast here,” he said. “We know that.

“Coming in here, the first game and the first 10 minutes, it’s a lot, it’s a lot of emotion going on, so it’s important that our guys get focused and try to quiet the crowd as quickly as possible.”

It was not to be. The NHL’s loudest rink stayed true to its reputation.

But the Blues did have a superb chance to do just that when, 34 seconds into this opening game of a best-of-seven series, Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele crashed into Binnington while circling the St. Louis net. Scheifele was called for interference; fans felt Binnington should have been called for diving, and from that point on was loudly booed every time he touched the puck.

Story continues below advertisement

With Winnipeg shorthanded, however, the Blues could not even manage a shot on the Winnipeg net until Scheifele was stepping back onto the ice.

By the third period, the Blues were back on their game.

Both teams seemed tentative to start this series. Pucks were bobbled, checks missed, passes out of reach. Apart from Laine’s goal, the teams were evenly matched through the first and a goalless second period.

That was no surprise in that the Blues and Jets ended the regular season with exactly the same total, 99 points, though one (Winnipeg) started strong and the other (St. Louis) finished strong. An inventive Twitter account put out Wednesday that both cities were founded by French fur traders, both have muddy rivers, both opened zoos the same year, and both are known as the “Gateway to the West.”

Cute, but there can be no ties in Stanley Cup playoff hockey.

However, early in the second period, it appeared the Blues were going to tie the game when slick Vladimir Taresenko flew up the ice and had a clear breakaway when it appeared his shot might leak through Hellebuyck’s pads and into the net, only to have big defenceman Dustin Byfuglien cuff the dribbling puck away before it could cross the line.

Story continues below advertisement

The best scoring chance of the period came on a shorthanded rush by the Jets while killing off a penalty to Mathieu Perreault. Jets centre Par Lindholm came down fast on the right side, took a pass and fired a hard shot that Binnington snared with a fast glove hand.

Byfuglien nearly scored on a hard point shot during a Jets power play, only to have the puck ring off the left post.

Byfuglien, who missed games recently with an ankle injury, played a very strong game, as did defenceman Josh Morrissey, finally returning to play after missing weeks with an upper body injury. Morrissey played a regular shift and was impressive.

Laine hit the St. Louis post early in the third period when, again, he fired a wrist shot from the right side of the slot.

Finally, the Blues got their chance and scored when David Perron drifted a long shot from the blue line that somehow eluded Hellebuyck.

With the score 1-1 and the Blues increasingly coming on – “We preach aggressiveness,” Berube said – the game turned very much in St. Louis’s favour.

Story continues below advertisement

Bozak had several good chances, finally beating Hellebuyck with a quick shot from the slot.

The Jets pressed in the dying minutes, pulling the goaltender for an extra attacker, but they could not beat the cool rookie.

The first day of this playoff round began with a minor controversy. Binnington, the hero of the Blues’ late-season rise from last place over all to the playoffs, was found to have made some embarrassing social media comments in his past. The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., had cracked about burkas and cab drivers talking in foreign languages five and six years back.

Berube refused to comment on the minor fuss, but was quick to praise Binnington’s poise. “Mentally he’s been real confident,” Berube said. “He’s stayed real even-keel with this whole experience.”

He was certainly “even keel” from Laine’s opening goal on.

“Playoffs are just a battle, right,” Binnington said.” You just got to stay composed.”

Story continues below advertisement

Tell that to the Jets fans.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies