Manitoba

Jets facing elimination in St. Louis after late goal stuns Bell MTS Place

The St. Louis Blues stole Game 5 on the road against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night, thanks to a third-period surge capped by a winning goal in the dying seconds to take the series lead.

Home team loses for the 5th straight game in series, as Jets blow 2-goal lead

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck sits in his crease after Jaden Schwartz scored with 15 seconds left in the third period to give the Blues a 3-2 victory Thursday night, and a 3-2 series lead heading back to St. Louis for Game 6. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

The St. Louis Blues stole Game 5 on the road against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night, thanks to a third-period surge capped by a winning goal in the dying seconds to take the series lead.

The narrative of a home-ice disadvantage reigns supreme, as the home team has lost every game in the series thus far.

After a dream start with two goals in the first period, the Jets were hit with a nightmare finish in the third, as Jaden Schwartz scored the game-winning goal with just 15 seconds remaining.

The goal sucked the energy out of the building and dampened the mood of the thousands outside at the Whiteout party.

A stunned Winnipeg Jets fan looks on after Jaden Schwartz scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 for the St. Louis Blues (Walther Bernal/CBC News)

"I thought we were sitting on a comfortable pillow, a two-goal lead and then we lost it all in the third period, it's really disappointing," said Nigel Amarah, who was attending his first Whiteout.

"[I'm feeling] sad, I didn't want to go home like this." 

Michelle Dornn travelled into Winnipeg for the game, and left the party with a bitter taste in her mouth.

"I thought we were going to pull it off and have a win … it was a sad loss," she said.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, she believes the team still has the capability to bounce back and win the series.

"If they work hard and keep their spirits up, they'll pull this off," said Dornn.

But Mohammad Mojreh doesn't believe there is a way back for the Jets after such a devastating loss.

"It's pretty upsetting leading the whole game then near the end just losing it, pretty heartbreaking, I don't know how they're going to come back from that," he said.

Mojreh has been to every Whiteout party during the playoffs so far, and has yet to experience a Jets win on home ice.

"It doesn't work out for us it seems, we can't celebrate while we're out here … seems like the same result every time," he said.

Fast start for Jets

The Jets started the scoring just 12 seconds into the game, when off a hard forecheck, the puck ended up on the stick of Adam Lowry, who was parked in the slot, where he zipped it past St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington.

Throughout the first period, Jets fans jeered the Blues' rookie netminder with chants of "You look nervous."

The Jets built on their quick start 13:35 into the first period, as defenceman Dustin Byfuglien led an odd-man break before passing to Kevin Hayes, who made a nifty move to put the home team up 2-0. 

Kevin Hayes celebrates after putting the Jets ahead 2-0 in the first period. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

St. Louis had their fair share of chances to keep things within striking distance in the first, but Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped all of the shots he faced.

The Jets held onto their two-goal lead heading into the third period, but would be a man down to start the frame, thanks to a roughing penalty by defenceman Jacob Trouba at the end of the second. 

The Blues came out like gangbusters, as Ryan O'Reilly converted on the power play 1:29 into the third, shifting the momentum towards St. Louis. 

The Jets had their chances, but couldn't convert, often missing the net or getting hemmed in their zone for long stretches. 

The Blues tied the game up 13:52 into the third period, off a somewhat controversial play, as Dustin Byfuglien hit Oskar Sundqvist, who knocked the net off just as Brayden Schenn scored. The referees called the league office, and the goal stood because the net had been knocked off as a result of the hit to Sundqvist.

Jaden Schwartz, right, celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Carl Gunnarsson. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

That set the stage for Schwartz's goal in the final minute, as he knocked a centring pass out of midair and into the Jets' goal with just 15 seconds left to play, draining all of the energy from the capacity crowd at Bell MTS Place. 

The Jets now head for Game 6 on Saturday in St. Louis facing elimination on the road. 

If needed, Game 7 goes Monday in Winnipeg.

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