The Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues will meet tomorrow night for Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series at Bell MTS Place in Downtown Winnipeg and it will be the first time in each franchise’s history that they will play each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Note: Present franchises of course since the original Jets played the Blues back in 1982 in a Norris Division battle which saw St. Louis win 3-1). The Jets and Blues both finished the 2018’19 regular season with 99 points but the Jets had more regulation victories.
Regular season records aside, this looks like an even series on paper. The Blues have been the hotter team in the second half of the season (Since January 2nd, the Blues had the best regular season record in the NHL at 30-10-5) while the Jets struggled in the last two months of the regular season (the Jets were 14-14-3 after February 1).
If you are going to give the goaltending edge to the Blues and Jordan Binnington (which I wouldn’t but some are), you have to give the offensive edge to the Jets, who scored 270 goals during the regular season compared to the Blues who scored 244 goals. If you are going to give the special teams edge to St.Louis (9th best Penalty Kill, 10th best Power Play), you have to give the edge to Winnipeg because they have home ice advantage and have been excellent at home over the last two years.
The fact of the matter is that this Jets/Blues series is shaping up to be a great one and the winner could very well end up representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. The Jets and Blues both have excellent goaltending, skilled forward groups and a mixture of mobile and physical defensemen. If you’re looking for an X-factor for the Jets, look no further than Josh Morrissey who will play in Game 1 after missing the final 20 games of the regular season due to an upper-body injury. The smooth skating Morrissey has the ability to shut down the NHL’s elite forwards (Hello Vladimir Tarasenko).
Ultimately, this series will inevitably come down to goaltending, depth scoring and special teams and I think the more talented Jets will be able to elevate their game at the right time. I’m taking the Jets in six games but I could easily see this series needing seven games to determine a winner.
I reached out to a collection of hockey writers and broadcasters in Winnipeg and across the hockey world to get their predictions for the upcoming series between the Jets and Blues. Below you will find those predictions..
Dave Minuk (Editor of IllegalCurve.com, Analyst on the Illegal Curve Hockey Show) – Jets in Seven
Drew Mindell (Host, Illegal Curve Hockey Show/NHL This Week, TSN 1290 Radio) – Blues in Five
Sean Assor (NHL This Week, TSN 1290 Radio) – Jets in Seven
Michael Remis (Producer, The Afternoon Ride, TSN 1290 Radio) – Jets in Seven
Ryan Brandt (Producer, Donvito Roundtable, TSN 1290 Radio) – Jets in Five
Andrew “Hustler” Paterson (Host, The Afternoon Ride, TSN 1290 Radio)- Jets in Seven
Jim Toth (Host, The Big Show, TSN 1290 Radio) – Jets in Six
Scott Billeck (NHL.com, NBC Pro Hockey Talk) – Jets in Six
Ted Wyman (Sports Editor, Winnipeg Sun) – Blues in Six
Mike McIntyre (Sports Columnist, Winnipeg Free Press) – Blues in Six
Jason Bell (Assistant Sports Editor, Winnipeg Free Press) – Jets in Seven
Murat Ates (The Athletic Winnipeg) – Jets in Seven
Frank Seravalli (Senior Hockey Reporter, TSN) – Blues in Six
Craig Custance (The Athletic’s Editor-In-Chief for NHL-US) – Jets in Seven
Michael Traikos (National hockey writer for Postmedia) – Jets in Six
John Matisz (National hockey writer for theScore.com) – Jets in Seven
Josh Cooper (The Athletic Los Angeles) – Blues in Six
Paul Gackle (Bay Area News Group) – Blues in Six
Mike Kelly (TSN, NHL Network, The Point Hockey) – Blues in Six
Adam Vingan (The Athletic Nashville) – Blues in Seven
Marc Dumont (The Athletic Montreal) – Jets in Six
Dustin Nielsen (TSN 1260 Radio Edmonton) – Blues in Six
Cam Robinson (Dobber Hockey, Dobber Prospects)- Blues in Six
What do you think? Who do you think will win the series between the Jets and Blues? Let us know in the comments section below.
You can follow me on Twitter @ICEzzyG.