Playoff Push: How would the Winnipeg Jets match up against the St. Louis Blues

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Nothing is guaranteed.

Indeed while the Winnipeg Jets have their best shot at making the playoffs in the version 2.0 era, there remains a good chance that the club will miss the playoffs yet again for the fourth consecutive time since relocating to Manitoba.

Banish such darks though though because today we turn our series looking at how the Jets match up against their next most likely playoff opponents. Next up is the St. Louis Blues.

Let’s take an an in-depth look at the matchup after the jump.

Match Up Chances

The St. Louis Blues have gone on a bit of a win streak and passed the Nashville Predators in the standings and catching up on the Anaheim Ducks. This pushes the Blues into the second most likely team to match up against the Jets.

Micah McCurdy’s model – which uses score, venue, and opponent-adjusted Corsi percentage – is the best fit predictive model available to the public, and it currently projects a 17.0 percent chance that the Jets play the Blues in the first round.

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(Courtesy of hockeystats.ca)

The model includes the probability that the Jets do not play the playoffs as well. Some quick math places the Jets at a 25.4 percent chance at facing the Blues if they do qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sports club stats meanwhile have the Jets at a 19.0 percent chance at facing the Blues in the first round if they both make the postseason.

So, it is a long shot, but completely possible. 

Season Numbers

Even Strength (5v5)

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Just like our last comparison with the Nashville Predators, the Jets are the stronger shot metrics team in terms of Corsi but the gap is small. The Blues only sit three rankings below the Jets’ Corsi percentage. 

Both teams have performed eerily similar in all metrics for 5v5 situations. Similar shot production for and against, similar shooting percentage, and similar save percentage.

Overall the Blues have scored more per minute than the Jets but have allowed per minute the same number of goals against.

St. Louis has kicked it up a notch since the trade deadline. Their Corsi percentage since March 2nd is fourth in the NHL and second for teams currently in the playoff picture. The Blues were busy in the week prior to the trade deadline. Acquisitions like Olli Jokinen, Marcel Goc, Robert Bortuzzo, and Zbynek Michalek have paid in dividends, although the return of Kevin Shattenkirk helps a lot too.

Special Teams

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Both the Jets and Blues play a heavy game that has caused them to get penalized more often than they draw penalties, although the Los Angeles Kings have had no problem playing a heavy game without the same penalty problems.

Both teams create a similar amount of shot attempt volume and have similar shooting percentages, but the Blues are far more effective in getting their shots through the oppositions defenders, giving them a far more successful production on the power play.

In terms of the penalty kill, the teams have had similar success in goaltending, but the blues have repressed both shot attempts and unblocked shot attempts more successfully and have allowed relatively fewer goals against.

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The numbers above are simply the power play numbers subtracted by the penalty kill numbers. Essentially what you would guess the team’s differentials would be if the team spent equal amounts of ice time in both situations.

When you add everything up, the Blues have both been the better performer on special teams and also carry a far better penalty differential. This is one of the major areas that has given two similar 5-on-5 teams so much separation in the standings.

Head-to-Head Numbers

The Jets have an 1-2-1 losing record against the Blues this season, but every game has been close. Since the move to Winnipeg, almost all games between these two teams have been decided by one point if you ignore empty nets, with about half going to extra time or shoot out.

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As expected, the games between the Jets and Blues have been close in scoring for 5-on-5, with the Blues scoring one more goal. The goals have come quickly as neither team has experienced overwhelming goaltending, although the Blues edge the Jets slightly.

In terms of shot attempts, the Jets have carried the play more so than the Blues. They have carried a 56.2 percent Corsi, which is pretty significant given the two team’s similarities in Corsi performance throughout the season.

If the Jets somehow pass the Minnesota Wild and play in the Central Division for the playoffs, the road gets a lot tougher than crossing over to the Pacific. Still, the Jets have beaten the Blues before and they can once again… 

The Jets even play the Blues once more this season, in a game that could determine whether or not the Jets even make the playoffs.

All numbers are from War-on-Ice and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.

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