The Winnipeg Jets closed out the pre-Olympic portion of the NHL season on a four-game road trip, and in the final installment, they fell to the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in a shootout.
St. Louis got the first goal of the game when Brenden Morrow snuck one across the net for his 10th goal of the season. After the Jets killed a penalty of their own just after the goal, St. Louis took a too-many men penalty, giving Winnipeg their first power-play of the night. Mark Scheifele scored just seconds after the penalty expired, tying the game at one. St. Louis re-gained the one-goal advantage with under three minutes to play in the frame with a Derek Roy goal, that hit a ref on the way. The period ended 2-1 for St. Louis, but the Jets led in shots, 8-7. There were 20 minutes of penalties handed out in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Jets played their best period of hockey in the second, gaining momentum after an early Jay Bouwmeester penalty. Scheifele scored his second of the game (13th of the season) mid-way through the game, to again tie it, this time at 2. The Jets survived a 5-on-3 penalty kill late in the frame, and walked into the dressing room tied after forty. Shots after two were 19-13 Winnipeg.
The Blues didn’t waste any time taking the lead in the third period, when Jaden Schwartz scored just 34 seconds in, giving the Blues the 3-2 lead. That said lead would last until just 6 minutes left on the clock, when Dustin Byfuglien‘s shot bounced off Alex Pietrangelo‘s skate and in, for a power-play goal. Both teams wouldn’t find the net again in regulation, and after a shootout that saw 3 shots for each team, the game headed to a shootout.
Bryan Little and Alex Steen both missed in round one, but after T.J. Oshie scored a high-light reel goal, and captain Andrew Ladd couldn’t find the net, it was Vladimir Tarasenko that sealed a 4-3 win for the Blues.
The Blues remain unbeaten in regulation against a Central Division opponent, extending their record to 15-0-1. The Jets fall to 6-12-4 within the division with the loss.
In the battle of the back-up goaltenders, Brian Elliott came out on top, with 28 saves in the win. Al Montoya made 23 saves on 32 shots. Both Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets and Jaroslav Halak of the Blues had the night off, as both goalies prepare for the upcoming Olympics.
Zach Bogosian had a game-high 28:35 of TOI in the extra-time loss, while Byfuglien led the way offensively with eight shots in 18 minutes of ice time. The Jets’ fourth-line woes continue, as Anthony Peluso and Eric O’Dell saw a combined 6:05 of time on ice.
The Blues were led by Roy, who had three shots, two points, and averaged a 43% faceoff percentage in 18 minutes of ice time.
The Jets close out their four-game road trip with five out of eight possible points, a 2-1-1 record.
The Jets play the Phoenix Coyotes on February 27th at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg to kick off their post-Olympic schedule. They head into the break with 61 points, and are currently two points back of Phoenix for the final Wild Card spot, although the ‘Yotes face the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
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