Key players to watchEasy, all eyes will be on the two players between the pipes — Binnington, Hellebuyck. Thank you, next.Jets vs. Blues playoff meetingsThis is the first-ever meeting between the two franchises in the postseason.Last five playoff appearancesWinnipeg Jets OffenseJust as they’re season turned, so did the Blues offense. After games ended on Jan. 2, St. Louis was tied with Arizona as the 27th team in the NHL in goals scored (102). The rest of the way the scored 142, tying them with Toronto for sixth best. Not a bad turnaround.The Blues offense is top-heavy with it squarely based around the line of Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn with the trio finishing 1-2-3 in scoring for St. Louis, respectively. Although for a while it looked like Tarasenko was going to be shipped out of Missouri, with 11 goals in his first 37 games; but then the calendar magically turned to 2019, the Blues season turned around and he started firing on all cylinders netting 22 goals — 10 in February alone. Vladimir Tarasenko of the @StLouisBlues reached the 30-goal mark for his fifth consecutive campaign.The only player with a longer active streak of 30-goal seasons: Alex Ovechkin (14). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/xQybEYot3Q— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 30, 2019Behind them is a line that includes Oskar Sundqvist, Jaden Schwartz and David Perron, who returned in March and went on a tear netting 11 points in 12 games.Neither team sported a 100-plus point player, but Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler came close; he tied his career-high in points with 91 and set a new career-high in assists (71). Behind their captain, the Jets had the usual suspects of Mark Scheifele (38 goals, 46 assists) and Patrik Laine (30 goals, 20 assists) — although, Laine’s struggled at times and netted 14 goals less than last season’s campaign, he fell far below his the 50 goals he was going for.Kyle Connor, who plays on a line with Wheeler and Scheifele, had the second-most goals on the team (34) behind his linemate Schiefele. Then, to help bolster his offense, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff acquired Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers, who scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 20 games.Also, a bright spot offensively for Winnipeg was from defenseman Jacob Trouba who surpassed his previous career-high in points by 17. Time will tell if he can up his game in the playoffs too as he has only five points in 21 career games.Winnipeg, who made a deep run last year compared to St. Louis who missed a postseason spot, will need Dustin Byfuglien to do what he does best in big games. The defenseman, who can also switch to a forward position, has 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) in 60 playoff games. Edge: Even. DefenseThis series can hinge on whether Winnipeg can right the ship. As previously stated, Paul Maurice’s squad has struggled as of late, losing six of their last nine, and being outscored 31-23. Winnipeg did get Byfuglien back late in the regular season and all signs are pointing to the return of Josh Morrissey who missed the last 20 games of with an upper-body injury. If they, along with Trouba and netminder Connor Hellebuyck, can solidify the Jets backend it’ll go along to help the Jets get past the upstart Blues. Across the way, St. Louis has Jay Bouwmeester, who just signed a one-year extension on Monday, Alex Pietrangelo and superstar netminder Jordan Binnington to round out the defensive end. Considering where they were Jan. 2 (3.32 GAA/GP) to where they finished (2.68) with the fourth-fewest shots allowed (28.6), it’s fair to say the Blues clamped down on the defensive end. Edge: St. Louis Blues has a rising star in Binnington and the team has followed his lead.GoaltendingSpeaking of Binnington: obviously, all eyes will be on the rookie netminder who ascension to the NHL appears to have turned around the Blues season. Since his January call-up, Binnington has been unstoppable as he solidified his position as the No. 1 netminder from Jake Allen, and has even seen his name enter the Calder Trophy race. In 30 starts he has posted a 24-5-1 record with a 1.89 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and five shutouts.His game has appeared to have settled the Blues defense thus giving the offense to open up and be creative. From Feb.1 on, the Blues tied the Dallas Stars for the fewest goals against (72) in the NHL. Remarkable when you look at where this team was back in January.Connor Hellebuyck is a WIZARD! pic.twitter.com/SjYKXbNEnb— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) January 30, 2019Now the only issue for the 25-year-old is how he will do in the playoffs, where everything is ramped up and the intensity is at an all-time high. If Binnington was to falter, St. Louis does have Allen who has 23 playoff appearances under his belt.Despite Winnipeg’s stalling late in the year, one constant they always have is Hellebuyck. The veteran may have posted his career-worst GAA (2.90), but he posted his second-best save percentage (.913) and finished seventh in the NHL in wins (34). He has the playoff experience that his counterpart is missing as he carried the Jets deep into the 2018 postseason, going 9-8 with a 2.36 GAA, .922 save percentage and two shutouts — including holding Nashville to one goal on 37 shots in Game 7 of the second round.Edge: Even. This will be a battle of the netminders.Special teamsBig Buff was not happy when he was riding the bench during a recent Jets power play and head coach Paul Maurice will have to get his defenseman back on track as Winnipeg needs his big shot from the point with the man advantage on, for now, his second unit. The Jets finished fifth in power-play goals (62) and fourth in percentage (24.8) led by Wheeler (33 PPP) and Laine (15 PPG). They had the second-best home power play (31.4), which could be a key considering they were able to skate away with home-ice advantage in what is sure to be a tight series. Powered by Tarasenko and his 12 power-play goals, St. Louis’ power play was rock solid — especially on the road as they finished fourth in the league (23.9). The Blues also hold the advantage on the penalty kill as they were 81.5 effective at killing off penalties compared to 79.2.Edge: St. Louis Blues but not by much. Both teams will need to stay out of the penalty box to keep these top power-play units off the ice. It will be interesting to see if head coach Craig Berube and the Blues can continue their Cinderella season or if Winnipeg, who is 3-6 in their last nine and 14-14-3 after Feb. 1, can rebound and stop St. Louis’ story from writing another chapter.SN STAFF PREDICTIONS:Eastern Conference | Western Conference | Stanley Cup Winnipeg Jets (-105) vs. St. Louis Blues (+115): Schedule, breakdown, predictionDateMatchupTime (TV channel)April 10Game 1 at Winnipeg8 p.m. ET (NHLN, SN, TVA)April 12Game 2 at Winnipeg9:30 p.m. ET (CNBC, SN, TVA)April 14Game 3 at St. Louis7:30 p.m. ET (CNBC, SN, CBC, TVA)April 16Game 4 at St. Louis9:30 p.m. ET (CNBC, SN, TVA)*April 18Game 5 at WinnipegTBD*April 20Game 6 at St. LouisTBD*April 22Game 7 at WinnipegTBD(*if necessary)Season seriesWinnipeg owned the season series; however, a friendly reminder it was before the Blues turned things around. So, in my humble opinion, you throw it all out and start with a clean slate.DATEROADHOMERESULTOct. 4JetsBluesWPG, 5-1Oct. 22BluesJetsWPG, 5-4 (OT)Nov. 24JetsBluesWPG, 8-4Dec. 7BluesJetsSTL, 1-0 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/1f/27/valadimir-tarasenko-st-louis-blues-040919-getty-ftrjpeg_1f2hxvilcy9q6zfqxociqnwim.jpg?t=-27213871&w=500&quality=80 YEARFINISH2018Lost in conference final to VGK in five games 2015Lost in first round to ANA in four games2007*Lost in conference quarterfinal to NYR in four games *Team was then the Atlanta ThrashersSt. Louis BluesYEARFINISH2017Lost in second round to NSH in six games2016Lost in conference final to SJ in six games2015Lost in first round to MIN in six games2014Lost in first round to CHI in six games2013Lost in conference quarterfinal to LA in six gamesJets vs. Blues predictionPrediction: Blues in seven. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e6/10/dustin-byfuglien-winnipeg-jets-040819-getty-ftrjpeg_3lx6b0yhwzwv1vdfhs6ggcfx1.jpg?t=-27468855&w=500&quality=80 This was a 2019 Stanley Cup playoff matchup no one saw coming at the start of the year — meaning 2019.That’s because before the puck dropped on the Jan. 3 games, the St. Louis Blues were dead last in the NHL. Today they are set to play the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, who by comparison was atop the Central Division and tied with Vegas for the fourth-most points in the NHL back in January.