By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Ryan O’Reilly may have scored the only goal in the shootout, but the St. Louis Blues were heaping praise on goalie Jordan Binnington for their 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
“He came up big for us. He won us a game tonight,” Blues head coach Craig Berube said of Binnington, who made 39 saves.
Eight skaters took shots in the contest, with O’Reilly deking and putting the puck behind Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Kyrou had a goal and assist apiece for St. Louis (8-2-1). Kyle Connor, with his team-leading ninth goal, and defenceman Neal Pionk scored for Winnipeg (6-3-3).
Buchnevich set up Kyrou’s game-tying goal at 11:54 of the third period when he sent the puck out to the front of the net for the forward, who beat Hellebuyck.
St. Louis had possession for most of overtime, outshooting Winnipeg 10-1, and Brandon Saad hit the post.
“There was a couple times where he was on his stomach or he was on his back and he just flung his arm up there, got a stick on it or something,” Kyrou said of Binnington’s performance. “He made unbelievable saves, and same thing in the shootout, (he) stopped all four of them.”
Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets after missing the team’s past three games. The first absence was for his son’s birth, the next two because he was sick with a non-COVID illness.
“It felt good,” Hellebuyck said. “That’s kind of what I was expecting. A few mistakes on my end tonight.
“I feel I’ve gotten certain details into my game and certain bad habits out of my game and tonight I might have crept a few of those back in. That’s just a matter of getting my mind into game speed.”
Winnipeg was playing its fourth game of a season-long, seven-game homestand (2-1-1) at Canada Life Centre.
Both teams had a power play in the fast-paced first period, but only the Blues capitalized. Buchnevich scored his third of the season with a shot that went through Hellebuyck’s legs at 18:09.
The Blues had the second-best power play in the NHL heading into the game at 30.8 per cent while Winnipeg was fourth (28.1).
Winnipeg outshot the visitors 17-5 in the second period, tied the game and had some good chances to take the lead.
Pionk did a spin move inside the blue line and then fired a shot that may have hit a player and went past a screened Binnington at 10:56.
“That’s something he works on, being dynamic at the blue line,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said of Pionk. “I thought our (defence) corps was very dynamic back there tonight.”
A few minutes after Pionk’s goal, Binnington denied centre Mark Scheifele’s close-in shot with his glove after losing his stick.
Winnipeg also had a second power play but only got one shot on net. Jets forward Dominic Toninato’s wraparound attempt was then foiled by a Blues player beside the net.
Shots on goal were 23-13 in favour of Winnipeg after the second period.
Connor fired a sharp-angled, high shot past Binnington at 6:22 of the third to give the Jets the 2-1 lead.
Jets captain Blake Wheeler assisted on the goal, giving him 700 points for the franchise. He has 810 points in his 14-year career.
Winnipeg, which is 4-1-1 at home this season, hosts San Jose on Thursday. St. Louis returns home to host Nashville the same night.