The St. Louis Blues entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NHL and are showing no signs of slowing down after marching into Winnipeg and taking the first two games of their Round 1 series from the Jets.
They were 4-3 winners on Friday night to secure the 2-0 series lead they will be taking back to St. Louis this weekend.
It was a surprising star making the biggest impact in their latest win.
Oskar Sundqvist scored his first two career playoff goals on Friday, opening the scoring early in the first period and then adding another goal in the second period.
The 24-year-old Sundqvist entered the season with just two goals in his first 72 career games (regular season and playoffs) but had a breakthrough season for the Blues, tallying 14 goals and 31 total points. He already has three points in the first two games of the series.
While Sundqvist started the offense for the Blues, two of their big offseason acquisitions also paid off on Friday as Patrick Maroon and Ryan O'Reilly both scored, with O’Reilly’s goal at the 3:46 mark of the third period being the game-winner.
As for the Jets, losing the first two games of a series isn’t totally insurmountable, especially for a team with their talent, but when you do it on home ice and then have to go on the road your chances obviously take quite a hit.
While the Blues have continued their strong second half surge early on, the first two games of the series have also been a continuation of the Jets’ second half slump that knocked them out of the top spot in the Central Division and put them in this Round 1 matchup to begin with.
They can still put it together and get things right, but they are quickly running out of time for that to happen.