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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.

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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