Monday, November 24, 2014
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Reaves' pivotal goal helps Blues win

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[November 24, 2014]  WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves used his hands for good instead of evil on Sunday afternoon with his mom in the crowd.

The hometown kid scored the game-winning goal early in the third period as the St. Louis Blues downed the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.

Reaves picked up a rebound off a shot from center Steve Ott, spun and fired the puck past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec at 2:25 of the third period to break a 2-2.

St. Louis improved to 14-6-1, while the Jets lost their second straight on home ice and fell to 10-9-3.

It was the second afternoon game in as many days for the Blues, who earned a 3-2 triumph over the Senators on Saturday in Ottawa.

Blues center Paul Stastny scored into the empty net, his third goal of the season, with just 40 seconds left to seal the win.

Known more as an enforcer than goal scorer, Reaves showed his flashy side when Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock called on his fourth line to take an early shift in the final period.

"It just kind of laid in perfectly for me," said Reaves, describing the loose puck off the Pavelec rebound. "I was going to go to the backhand, but the momentum of the puck kind of took me on the spin-o-rama, so I kind of went with it."

The timely goal, with dozens of friends and family in the crowd, was the right winger's third in 20 games this season. He has yet to chip in an assist, but leads the club with 26 penalty minutes.

Reaves, 27, was born and raised in Winnipeg and played his junior hockey just two hours down the road with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. His father, Willard Reaves, was an all-star running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League from 1983-87.

Reaves said he's played about five or six games in Winnipeg with NHL and AHL clubs.

"I don't think I've ever had a point here, so it was fun," he said, estimating that about 50 to 60 friends and family members were in the crowd.

"My mom invited all her family and I've got a bunch of friends here, so I'm sure it's going to be packed in there," Reaves said, of a room set aside for visiting players' guests.

Left winger Jaden Schwartz, with his eighth goal, and center David Backes, with his sixth, scored power-play goals for St. Louis, which wrapped up a four-game road trip with two wins and two losses

St. Louis center Alexander Steen, also a native Winnipegger, provided a pair of assists.

Winnipeg center Jim Slater netted his first goal, and first point, of the year, while center Bryan Little opened the scoring with his sixth.

The Jets are still in the top 10 in the league on the penalty kill. However, the unit has surrendered five goals in the past four games.

The Blues notched a pair of goals on five chances with the man advantage.

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"(Giving up) two power-play goals, that stung a little bit because we take a lot of pride in our (penalty kill). But that's the way it goes some games," said Slater. "We've played against some really top-tier power plays the last little bit, and obviously we have to get better at it. Some little things are creeping into our game that we have to take out. Once we do that, I think we should be good."

Blues backup goalie Jake Allen got the call and blocked 28 shots for his sixth win in eight games, while Pavelec made 25 saves for Winnipeg.

"It was a war out there," Allen said. "You just saw a lot of guys getting clipped in the face, a lot of big hits and potential fights, so it's definitely going to be fun.

"We've still got a lot of games against them, this was the first one. They've got a skilled, quick team with a lot of offensive talent, so we're going to have our work cut out for us."

The Central Division rivals meet four more times this season, but the next game isn't until late February.

"They're a physical team. They're deep up front and on the back end. It doesn't matter who you're playing against, you're playing against good players," said Jets blueliner Mark Stuart.

NOTES: The "Ironman" streak is over for Blues D Jay Bouwmeester. The 31-year-old was scratched from Sunday's matinee in Winnipeg after suffering a lower-body injury Saturday in Ottawa, ending the longest active consecutive games-played streak in pro sports at 737. Bouwmeester last missed a game during the 2003-04 season when he skated with the Florida Panthers. ... RW Dustin Byfuglien and LW Adam Lowry both halted 14-game goal droughts in Winnipeg's 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. ... D Barret Jackman played his 744th career game Sunday with St. Louis, tying Hall of Famer Brett Hull for third on the all-time franchise list. ... Winnipeg closes out the month of November with games in Columbus, Buffalo and Boston. ... The Blues host a couple of Canadian clubs -- Ottawa and Edmonton -- this week.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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