Preview: Jets at Blues
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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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