Isles sweep means Jets get early start

ST. LOUIS — You might not need that extra jolt of java: the surprising sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins means Game 5 between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues will start a bit earlier than originally planned.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. CT Thursday at Bell MTS Place. The game was headed for another late faceoff, just like Game 2. But the New York Islanders completing a four-game sweep of Sidney Crosby and his teammates Tuesday night opened a slot on the national television schedule the Jets and Blues will fill.

Yes, you read that right. The Jets, one of three Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs, are less of a priority than the not-so-mighty Penguins in terms of pulling in viewers.

The Jets-Blues clash will be broadcast nationally on CBC.

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ST. LOUIS — You might not need that extra jolt of java: the surprising sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins means Game 5 between the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues will start a bit earlier than originally planned.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. CT Thursday at Bell MTS Place. The game was headed for another late faceoff, just like Game 2. But the New York Islanders completing a four-game sweep of Sidney Crosby and his teammates Tuesday night opened a slot on the national television schedule the Jets and Blues will fill.

Yes, you read that right. The Jets, one of three Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs, are less of a priority than the not-so-mighty Penguins in terms of pulling in viewers.

The Jets-Blues clash will be broadcast nationally on CBC.

● ● ●

Some eyebrows were raised before Game 3 when Jets winger Patrik Laine stayed off the ice during the morning skate, the only member of the team to do so. Naturally, it led to some speculation he’s battling an injury or ailment.

Laine went out and had another strong outing, scoring for a third straight game. Whatever he’s dealing with can’t be too serious. However, it’s worth noting he was absent for Tuesday’s morning skate as well.

“Superstition probably, now,” head coach Paul Maurice said when asked about his star sniper. “He’s fine.”

● ● ●

It’s definitely not your traditional fourth line. But Maurice said the new-look trio of Kevin Hayes between Mathieu Perreault and Jack Roslovic is the kind of grouping good teams try to have in their bottom-six forward group to bring playoff success.

Maurice put them together for Game 3, mostly because he wanted to reunite his key checking line of Adam Lowry, Brandon Tanev and Andrew Copp.

“And then the pieces fit. Because all three of those guys have a little something. Jack was really good in tight areas, tight turning, using his feet and his speed. Matty Perreault doesn’t skate like Jack, he’s very quick. And Kevin is a puck mover. He can make plays in traffic and he can see things,” Maurice said.

“So we thought if all three of them bring what they’re good at, it could be a real good line.”

Maurice noted the Blues have a similar situation in their lineup.

“On deep teams, you’ve got a player like Alex Steen on your fourth line and that’s a pretty dominant player to play in that hole. When you get to the first 16 playoff teams, their fourth lines can do some things. There are good players on the fourth line,” he said.

● ● ●

The Jets have padded their roster with some call-ups from the farm.

Mason Appleton, Kristian Vesalainen, Marko Dano, Logan Shaw, Logan Stanley and Cam Schilling have all been added now that the Manitoba Moose season is over. They’ll join other healthy scratches including Moose goalie Eric Comrie.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
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Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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