Preview: Blues at Jets
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[March 03, 2017]
A pair of teams who need strong
finishes to the regular season to earn a Western Conference playoff
spot meet Friday when the Winnipeg Jets host the St. Louis Blues.
Neither team is in playoff position as St. Louis is one point behind
eighth-place Los Angeles with Winnipeg another five points behind
The Blues, who lost four in a row, made their biggest news off the
ice with Monday’s trade of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to
Washington. St. Louis fell 2-1 at home Tuesday to Edmonton as its
offensive woes continue with six goals during their losing streak.
Winnipeg earned points in five consecutive games (3-0-2) entering a
week-long break, but fell behind by three goals Tuesday at home to
Minnesota before rallying to tie, only to fall 6-5. The Jets made a
minor move at Wednesday’s trade deadline, shipping forward Drew
Stafford to Boston for a sixth-round pick.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE BLUES (31-26-5): St. Louis has been strong on special
teams all season, ranking sixth in the NHL in power play (22
percent) and eighth in penalty killing (84 percent). Forward
Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the top scorers in the league with 28
points and 28 assists, but in Shattenkirk - who made it clear he
would not sign an extension with the Blues after the season - St.
Louis lost a player who led the team with 31 assists and was second
with 42 points. Paul Stastny scored a power-play goal Tuesday, his
first point since returning from a knee injury.
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ABOUT THE JETS (28-30-6): Tuesday’s loss encapsulated
the season for Winnipeg: It doesn't have enough offense to overcome
a defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in goals allowed
per game (3.2). Mark Scheifele capped the rally from three goals
down with the game-tying goal, and with a marker and two assists
Tuesday and is sixth in the NHL in points with 65 (26 goals, 39
assists). The Jets, who are 14-15-1 at home, have five games
remaining on a six-game homestand.
1. Winnipeg F Patrik Laine earned NHL Rookie of the Month honors
after finishing February with eight goals and 15 points in 11 games.
2. The Blues play 12 of their final 20 games on the road, but five
games are against teams in last place in their divisions.
3. The Jets scored 13 goals in three games against St. Louis this
season, going 3-0-0 (including a pair of five-goal performances in a
10-day stretch of January).
PREDICTION: Jets 4, Blues 2
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