Pat Maroon

Binnington helps Blues narrowly defeat Jets in his postseason debut

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The Winnipeg Jets tested Blues rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington. Mark Scheifele ran into him out of the gate and Patrik Laine beat him with a huge goal early in the first period, but Binnington didn’t unravel in his postseason debut. He kept the Blues in the contest until they could battle back in the third period to earn a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg in Game 1.

“Yeah, (Binnington) did a great job … early on, with the Scheifele thing … but that’s part of the playoffs and he handled it well, and he played a hell of a game,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.

Binnington has been the story of the Blues’ campaign thus far. He didn’t start the season in the NHL, but with St. Louis struggling mightily and the Blues’ goaltending not living up to expectations, Chad Johnson was put on waivers in December. With the opening that created, it wasn’t long until Binnington became the spark St. Louis needed, guiding the Blues into the playoffs with a 24-5-1 record, 1.89 GAA, and .927 save percentage in 32 games.

It wasn’t all Binnington though. This was a hard fought battle against two teams that looked even. The third period was certainly St. Louis’ though. The Jets’ 1-0 lead was finally eliminated at 4:05 of the third period when David Perron scored just his fifth goal in 58 career playoff games. Tyler Bozak, who like Perron was signed as a UFA over the summer, scored the winner with just 2:05 left. Pat Maroon, yet another summer addition, deserves a lot of credit for carrying the puck and setting up Bozak on the deciding goal.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

That gave the Jets plenty of time to have one more sustained shot at Binnington, but nothing got by him with the pressure on.

St. Louis was one of the hottest teams in the league coming into the playoffs. The Blues went 28-8-5 in the second half, which isn’t far behind the dominate Tampa Bay Lightning’s 30-9-2 record in their final 41 games. That strong finish made up for St. Louis’ rocky start and resulted in St. Louis tying Winnipeg in terms of regular season points at 99.

Even if Game 1 was in Winnipeg by virtue of the tiebreaker, St. Louis can hardly be classified as the underdog and this win isn’t a true upset. It was a close game between two evenly matched squads in a series that’s far from decided.

Blues-Jets Game 2 from Bell MTS Place will be Friday night at 9:30 p.m. ET on CNBC

Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.

Flyers and Ducks swap minor leaguers in four-player deal

The Flyers were able to clear their farms system of a problem child while bringing back a familiar name from last season. In a deal that features players more likely to see time in the AHL, the Flyers sent forwards Pat Maroon and David Laliberte to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Danny Syvret and forward Rob Bordson.

The name you’ll likely know in this deal is Danny Syvret who spent time last year with the Flyers and saw some time in the NHL throughout the year. Syvret signed with Anaheim as a free agent in the off-season but with the young defensemen in Anaheim rising through the ranks, Syvret saw his chances of cracking the Ducks lineup disappear fast.Returning him to Philadelphia (or Adirondack as it was) gives him a team to be more comfortable with.

Meanwhile, the story with Pat Maroon is a bit more interesting as Ryan Bright of PhilaBright shares with us.

The trade was accelerated by the organization’s need to move Maroon, who was the Phantoms’ top forward, with five goals and three assist in his first nine games. However, clashes with then coach Greg Gilbert, forced the organization to send Maroon home to await relocation. Gilbert was also eventually fired.

Cleaning house in Adirondack was necessary as the Phantoms are 3-14-2 this season. Trading out a headache for familiarity at the organizational level can sometimes be all you need.