The Winnipeg Jets (14-13-4) return to the friendly confines of the MTS Centre on Tuesday, and the St. Louis Blues (19-6-3)will look to spoil their homecoming party, as the two Central Division teams collide.
The Jets’ 6-game road trip was their longest of the 2013-14 season, and they did well against the Eastern Conference, coming home with a 4-2 record. The Blues were atop the west amidst a 5-game winning streak, but have lost 3 of their last 4 games since then. Nevertheless, the Blues still sit in second place in the Central Division with 41 points, 9 more than the Jets. The Blues and Jets last met in St. Louis on October 29th, where the hometown team snuck away with a 3-2 win. All-time, the Jets are 1-1-1 against St. Louis.
In goal for the Jets will be starter Ondrej Pavelec, who lent the reigns over to back-up Al Montoya for the team’s last game, a 2-1 win in Tampa Bay. Pavelec has put up a .914% Save Percentage and a 2.76 GAA in 24 appearances this season. At the other end will be Brian Elliot, who made 14 saves in relief of Jaroslav Halak during the Blues’ most recent showing, a 5-2 loss. Elliot has averaged 2.18 goals against and has a .915% Save Percentage in 9 showings this year.
The Blues will bring a healthy lineup into the game, but they are still missing Ryan Reaves and Jordan Leopold on Injured Reserve, both with hand injuries. The Jets will be without Evander Kane for the fourth straight game, as the forward is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Jim Slater, Zach Bogosian, and Paul Postma are all on the IR for the Jets, and none of them have a set timetable for a return.
The Jets look to take the momentum gained in their East coast road trip back home, as they face a tough stretch ahead. The Jets have only gained 3 points against the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and Minnesota Wild in 8 games combined this season. The Jets are a dismal 3-9-2 against fellow Central Division teams, and those 4-point games become doubly important as the Jets try to stretch ahead of the .500% mark.
Jets Head Coach Claude Noel had this to say about the week ahead:
“I think we’re in a good place right now. We’ve got a big week. This week can really test you. We’ve got some good opponents so we’ll see where we stand… If we can continue to have a good week then that will really help us. It will help our confidence, it will help a lot of things.”
The Jets are 6-10-3 when facing Western Conference opponents, and 8-6-3 at home. The Jets hit a three-game losing streak at the MTS Centre before they hit the road, and subsequently, they haven’t won in their own building since the 15th of November. The Blues haven’t lost in regulation against Central Division teams this season, and are 10-4-3 in their own conference. The Blues have put up a 7-4-1 record on the road this season.
You can watch Tuesday’s game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290. Non-regional viewers can watch the game on Fox Sports Midwest. Game time is set for 7:00 PM Central Time.
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