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[February 09, 2016]  Perhaps the best moment of the season for the struggling Winnipeg Jets occurred on the practice ice Monday in St. Louis, as the Jets finished preparations to face the Blues on Tuesday. The team mobbed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien after coach Paul Maurice announced to the squad the All-Star had signed a five-year, $38-million contract, forgoing free agency at season’s end.

“My family and I have loved Winnipeg and we’re very happy to stay here,” Byfuglien told reporters after Monday’s practice for the Jets, who sit nine points behind the final Western Conference playoff spot. The news was not as good for the Blues on Monday, as St. Louis lost defenseman Alex Pietrangelo – fourth in the NHL in playing time (26:40 per game) – for at least three weeks with a right knee injury. “It’s a huge loss,” goaltender Brian Elliott told the team’s website Monday. “You never want to lose anybody, but he plays close to 30 minutes a night.” The Blues rediscovered their offense in a 4-1 victory over Minnesota on Saturday after tallying just five times in the previous five contests.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE JETS (23-26-3): Not all the news was good for Winnipeg as forward Drew Stafford, who fueled Saturday’s 4-2 victory at Colorado with two goals and an assist, drew a one-game suspension for a high stick on Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden. Byfuglien is tied for second among NHL defensemen with 15 goals and has been red hot lately, registering four goals with three assists in his past five games. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson, buried on the bench in lieu of rookie Connor Hellebuyck, stopped 32-of-34 shots Saturday in just his second start since Jan. 3.

ABOUT THE BLUES (30-17-8): Saturday’s victory over division-rival Minnesota marked the highest scoring output by St. Louis since a five-goal outing Jan. 18 against Pittsburgh, and the Blues converted three power plays – after recording that many in their previous 12 contests. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko is sixth in the NHL in goals with 26 going into Monday, snapping a five-game goalless streak with Saturday’s opening tally. Elliott turned aside 23-of-24 shots in the second period alone, finishing with 38 saves last time out.

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1. St. Louis went scoreless on its first power play against Minnesota, extending a goalless streak to 24 in a row before scoring on three of its next five opportunities with a man advantage.

2. Winnipeg also has found its stride offensively of late, scoring 15 goals in the past four games after recording just one each in its previous four contests.

3. The Blues have lost 197 man games to injuries this season, fifth-most in the NHL.

PREDICTION: Blues 4, Jets 1

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