The St. Louis Blues are looking to break their four-game losing streak against the Winnipeg Jets, who they have yet to defeat this season. Both teams will look different today, as the Blues play their second game after trading Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline, while the Jets sent Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins.
The Jets are 7-3-0 at home against the Central Division this season, with one of those home victories coming against the Blues. Speaking of home, the Jets are on the second of a six-game homestand and in the middle of three straight Central opponents. They are only five points back of the Blues for the second wild card spot and will need to win this game in regulation if they have any hope of making the playoffs.
The goaltending narrative has changed for the Blues since the last time these two teams met. In their last meeting, Jake Allen held a .897 save percentage, which was the best of all Blues goaltenders. Since then, Allen has a .925 save percentage, while Carter Hutton has had shutouts in both his starts. The Blues will need their goaltending to be stellar against a Jets team that has scored at least three goals in each of their past six games, averaging 3.8 over that stretch.
St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets
MTS Centre – 7:00 p.m. CST
Broadcast channels – TSN3, FS-MW
2016-17 Season Series: Dec. 3 – Winnipeg (3) at St. Louis (2) (OT)
Jan. 21 – St. Louis (3) at Winnipeg (5)
Jan 31. – Winnipeg (5) at St. Louis (3)
Winnipeg Jets – 28-30-6 – 62 Points
Home Record: 14-15-1
Hot Players: Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, Dustin Byfuglien
Key Injuries: Tyler Myers, Ondrej Pavelec
St. Louis Blues – 31-26-5 – 67 Points
Away Record: 13-15-1
Hot Players: Vladimir Tarasenko
Key Injuries: Robby Fabbri
1) The combination of Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine is already scary, with Laine tied for the rookie lead in scoring, and Scheifele being praised by arguably the best coach in the league. It’s downright unfair when they find perfect chemistry with a veteran player like Mathieu Perreault. Every member of the PSL line has nine points over the past five games and have scored nine of the Jets’ 18 goals. Laine is the only rookie averaging a point per game this season, while he and Scheifele trail only Nashville’s Filip Forsberg for points since February 14. Scheifele is sixth in the league in total points, just three behind second-place Patrick Kane.
2) It’s almost like coming home for many of the Blues players. Alexander Steen was born in Winnipeg. His father, Thomas Steen, played 14 seasons for the original edition of the Winnipeg Jets. Winger Ryan Reaves is also from Winnipeg, his father was a running back for the city’s Canadian Football League team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And defenceman Joel Edmundson hails from Brandon, Manitoba, just three hours west of Winnipeg.
3) The Blues won six-straight games from February 6 to the 16. Hutton had his two shutouts during that streak, while Allen had one along with a .947 save percentage. They led the league in goals for during that stretch and killed off 100% of their penalties.
Since then, they are dead last in goals for. Allen has still been good, holding a .921 save percentage over that stretch. Their leading scorer is Scottie Upshall, with a grand total of two points. That all adds up to four-straight losses. The good news is they have averaged 31 shots a game and have only scored on 4.8% of their shots. Even though some local media have a pessimistic view of how the season will end, the Blues may only need a couple of bounces to go their way to find themselves in the win column once again.
Catch the game tonight at 7:00 PM local time, and comment below with your predictions for the final score.